NEWS

PASOK rejects coalition talk

There is ?no chance? of early elections or of PASOK forming a coalition administration with New Democracy, government spokesman Ilias Mosialos said on Monday as he attempted to douse speculation about greater cooperation between Greece?s two main parties.

?There is not even a chance of [snap] elections, nor of any shared governance,? Mosialos said.

Rumors about the Socialists and the conservatives working together have been driven by their agreement last week on university reforms.

The bill was voted through by more than 250 MPs, sparking speculation that this consensus between PASOK, ND and the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) could pave the way for a national unity government.

Earlier this summer, Prime Minister George Papandreou privately offered to step down in a deal to get New Democracy on board in a coalition government but later withdrew the offer when talks broke down.

Health Minister Andreas Loverdos said on Sunday that the creation of a government of national unity is an ?open possibility.?

Mosialos said that he hopes the recent consensus between the parties would provide for further cooperation in the future. ?We are investing in consensus,? he said. ?We would like to see it when our tax bill is put to a vote and on other major issues.?

Sources said that Mosialos attempted to provide a clear line amid fears that ministers? off-topic comments are creating confusion within the government and the party.

There was more consternation on Monday when Agriculture Minister Costas Skandalidis spoke of serious problems ahead of the party congress on September 3. ?PASOK will either have to be reborn now or history will overtake it,? he said.