PASOK chief tells critics to take sides

Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday called on any cadres of his beleaguered party who want to leave or set up a separate grouping to do so, indicating however that the once-mighty PASOK would be willing to cooperate with other parties.

“Whoever has doubts or an identity crisis and does not feel that PASOK expresses them does not need to stay and suffer in PASOK,” Venizelos told Vima FM radio. He said the party could cooperate with Democratic Left -- the government’s third coalition partner -- and the Ecologist Greens, noting that officials of both parties had attended PASOK’s recent party summit.

Venizelos on Tuesday chaired the inaugural session of his party’s new organizational committee, the chief aim of which is to lay the groundwork for PASOK’s conference in the fall. The main focus of debate yesterday was the political basis for the planned “recreation” of the party which was all but decimated in two elections in May and June.

Venizelos noted that the period between the end of August and the beginning of October would be critical for Greece as the country’s troika of foreign creditors will have issued a crucial audit report and negotiations on a possible renegotiation of the terms of a debt deal are expected to have begun.

Two prominent MPs of leftist SYRIZA, which came second in last month’s elections on an anti-bailout platform, on Tuesday backed a proposal by the Communist Party (KKE) to abolish the country’s debt deal, known as the memorandum. The remarks by Panayiotis Lafazanis and Dimitris Stratoulis came a day after party spokesman Panos Skourletis said SYRIZA would only back the abolition of certain implementation laws accompanying the memorandum, not the debt deal itself.

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