PASOK heavyweight struck from parliamentary group

Andreas Loverdos, one of the leading cadres of governing coalition partner PASOK, was struck from the party’s parliamentary group shortly after announcing on Monday that he had founded a new “movement” called the Radical Social-Democratic Alliance.

Loverdos told Skai television that the aim of the movement was to ultimately develop into a party, though he insisted that there was no rift with PASOK.

However, the leader of the socialist party, Evangelos Venizelos (photo), reacted to the announcement by striking Loverdos from the parliamentary group, saying “Loverdos founded his movement not as a trend or a movement within PASOK but as a springboard for a new party.”

“For reasons relating to the national interest, in order to ensure stability in the government and the smooth outcome to difficult negotiations without our partners and creditors, I have for months tolerated behavior that was detrimental to the party,” Venizelos said in a statement. “At a time when PASOK is striving to create a new ‘we,’ someone opted for ‘me.’ What a shame,” he added.

With Loverdos out, PASOK now has 25 MPs in Parliament and has seen its support plummeting in opinion polls following its support of government austerity measures.

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