Venizelos distances PASOK from ND and Democratic Left

PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos has distanced his party from its coalition partners, New Democracy and Democratic Left, and announced an imminent overhaul for the Socialiasts, who suffered big losses in the recent elections.

Speaking to his 33 MPs ahead of the opening of Parliament in the next few days, Venizelos sought to draw clear dividing lines between PASOK and its two coalition partners.

?We are cooperating with New Democracy but that does not mean we identify with them, either in terms of politics or values,? he said, adding that the conservatives, through their strong opposition to the first bailout damaged the country and led to PASOK carrying the weight of the country?s recovery on its own.

Venizelos also attacked Democratic Left for appealing to PASOK voters to quit the Socialists and join the leftists ahead of the May 6 and June 17 elections.

Nevertheless, the PASOK leader identified the Democratic Left and the Ecologist Greens as two parties that the Socialists could work with to restore its popularity after gaining less than 13 percent of the vote on June 17. Venizelos invited the two parties to a conference on June 6 and 7.

?We will not settle for third place and a small percentage,? said Venizelos, announcing the creation of a political secretariat that would coordinate efforts to organize a congress where the party?s new structure and direction would be decided. No timeframe was provided.

Venizelos also named former Citizens? Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis and ex-Deputy Education Minister Evi Christofilopoulou as the party?s parliamentary representatives.

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