PASOK holds gala as SYRIZA fires barbs

PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos on Monday insisted that a new austerity package now being drafted would be the last imposed on Greeks during a speech marking the 38th anniversary of the foundation of socialist PASOK.

Meanwhile at a separate event, apparently timed to coincide with the Socialists? gala, the leader of main leftist opposition SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras, accused PASOK?s leadership of surrendering the party?s founding ideals to Greece?s so-called troika of foreign lenders.

?This will definitely be the last tough and painful package of measures,? Venizelos said in a speech to party cadres that was broadcast live on television. He said that every effort would be made to make the package as fair as possible and insisted that Greece could hold onto its national sovereignty. The Socialist chief also called for an ?open dialogue? with Democratic Left, the third party in the government coalition, in an apparent bid to boost PASOK?s flagging fortune.

The PASOK function had been intended to rally cadres of the once-mighty party but was lackluster, not least due to the absence of several party heavyweights. Among those who snubbed the event at the capital?s Benaki Museum were several former ministers including Michalis Chrysochoidis, Andreas Loverdos and Anna Diamantopoulou. Among the big names in attendance were former prime ministers Costas Simitis and George Papandreou and veteran socialist Costas Laliotis.

Addressing his audience, Tsipras declared that ?today?s PASOK? was not inspired by the party?s founding ideals but by the policies that have been put in place since Greece sought its first bailout in April 2010. The leftist leader accused the party of ?demolishing, one by one, the social conquests made by the Greek people in the 1980s.?

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