One of PASOK’s most high-profile members, former Health and Labor Minister Andreas Loverdos, launched a new center-left political movement on Monday, immediately prompting his ouster from the party’s parliamentary group and further rocking the already beleaguered Socialists.
Loverdos announced the creation of the movement, called Radical Movement of Social Democratic Alliance (RIKSSY), an hour before PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos was due to unveil plans for a strategy to marginalize and even make illegal far-right Golden Dawn.
The former minister had publicly expressed his desire over the last few days to “clash with the establishment” but sources said that Venizelos thought he had deterred him from starting his movement during a telephone conversation on Friday.
Loverdos on Monday invited people to join his movement and said that he would like it to develop into a pro-European, reformist party. Venizelos said in a statement that the ex-minister’s intention to form his own party meant that he has no future within PASOK.
His departure leaves the Socialists with just 25 MPs, compared to the 33 they had following the June elections. It also puts Venizelos under more pressure as he tries to steer the party to a congress in February, when he may face a leadership challenge.