NEWS

Rift in PASOK over Olive Tree alliance deepens

A dispute between former PASOK leader George Papandreou and current party president Evangelos Venizelos flared up again on Monday when Infrastructure Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis took the side of the former prime minister, who refused to attend the founding congress of the Olive Tree alliance between the Socialists and other, smaller, center-left parties for the European Parliament elections.

Papandreou boycotted the event as he dismissed the Olive Tree initiative as detrimental to PASOK. Chrysochoidis, who also failed to attend the congress, supported Papandreou’s decision in an op-ed published in Ta Nea daily. The minister said that this move would consign PASOK to a poor showing on May 25.

“PASOK has not been able to overcome the weaknesses of its past,” he said. “It is unregrettably leader-centric, arrogantly didactic, lacking boldness in its actions and defeated before the war has even begun.”

Chrysochoidis also dismissed the parties with which PASOK is cooperating, including one led by the party’s ex-MP and former Health Minister Andreas Loverdos, as “incapable and unimportant.”

The minister’s comments were dismissed by PASOK members loyal to Venizelos. “He may have been reading the memorandum,” said Paris Koukoulopoulos of the minister’s absence. Chrysochoidis had famously claimed once that he did not read Greece’s first bailout agreement with the troika.

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