Kouvelis and his party, the junior coalition partner, have come under consistent criticism from political opponents, SYRIZA in particular, over the decision to join a government with New Democracy and PASOK, but the Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader insists that continued support for the administration is in the country’s interests.
“Imagine what would happen if we withdrew our support,” Kouvelis said in an interview. “Without wishing to be indulgent, I believe DIMAR provides a stabilizing factor and citizens realize this.”
He added that a coalition government involving just New Democracy and PASOK would collapse. After two departures last week, DIMAR has 14 MPs, giving the government a total of 164 lawmakers in the 300-seat Parliament. The leftist leader accused of SYRIZA of not identifying even one reform that it would support.
Kouvelis dismissed criticism that DIMAR has had to compromise, eschewing many of the policies it signed up to as part of a coalition pact. “The most important thing we agreed to in the policy program was for the country to stand on its own feet, to safeguard its place in the eurozone,” he said. “We managed this, even though it was not easy at all.”
Kouvelis said there was no need for a cabinet reshuffle but repeated calls for the creation of an informal tripartite committee to improve understanding and coordination within the coalition. The DIMAR leader also indicated that efforts to establish permanent cooperation with PASOK and other center-left organizations would continue. “We have not given up on the goal of opening up to other forces of democratic socialism,” he said.