NEWS

PASOK chief warns poor election result for Olive Tree could undermine coalition

The stability of the Greek government will be put at risk if the center-left Olive Tree (Elia) alliance does not perform well in the May 25 European Parliament elections, PASOK leader and Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos said Tuesday.

“The government relies on cooperation,” said Venizelos after a meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras at the Maximos Mansion in Athens. “Without [PASOK] there is no government.”

The PASOK leader has spent the past few days stressing the apparent dangers of Elia – which his party is a member of – failing to attract a respectable level of support on May 25. In response to a question on Monday, he suggested that drawing less than 10 percent of votes would have serious consequences for PASOK and the government’s legitimacy, although Tuesday he refused to go into such details.

On Monday night, Alternate Labor Minister Leonidas Grigorakos warned supporters at an Olive Tree event that Greece could suffer “the same consequences as Ukraine or North African countries” if the election result puts the government’s future in jeopardy.

Although this is largely seen as a tactic to improve the fortunes of Elia, which is struggling under 7 percent in opinion polls, Venizelos denied that he was trying to panic voters.

“I am describing reality in a way that is honest and sensitive toward democracy,” he said. “Is it possible that the description of reality in terms of democratic honesty can be perceived as blackmail? Have we lost our minds?”

Venizelos, however, also attempted to prepare the ground for a possible poor Olive Tree showing by stressing that the result of the European elections should be balanced against the outcome of local polls on May 18 and 25. He said that “the complete picture” would have to be taken into account.

PASOK is due to perform better in the local elections, in which SYRIZA is expected to see mediocre results.

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