Kouvelis, Loverdos hold exploratory pre-election talks

Fotis Kouvelis, the leader of Democratic Left (DIMAR), which quit the ruling coalition last June over the abrupt closure of former state broadcaster ERT, met on Friday with Andreas Loverdos, a former minister and head of the small center-leftist party Pact for a New Greece, for talks believed to have centered on a possible cooperation in the forthcoming May elections.

The talks were cordial but did not result in a firm agreement between the two parties for a cooperation, according to sources who said that the secretaries of each party have been charged with continuing exploratory talks.

Kouvelis is said to have set the condition that DIMAR's name be used on a joint ticket for the two parties but Loverdos reportedly objects to his party being subsumed by another.

Sources indicated that Loverdos, a former PASOK minister, is also in talks with socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos as the latter has backed the so-called "Initiative of the 58" -- a center-left grouping of intellectuals and politicians which has been backed by Venizelos