Kouvelis rebuffs Venizelos’ overture

The leader of the junior partner in the governing coalition, Fotis Kouvelis of Democratic Left, on Friday rejected an overture by socialist PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos to join talks aimed at fostering closer cooperation, and even a formal merger, between the two partie ahead of the socialist’s congress later this month.

Venizelos wrote to Kouvelis to invite him to talks in the buildup to PASOK’s congress, proposing that Democratic Left take an active part in the congress.

But in a letter to the socialist leader on Friday,, Kouvelis said that his party «cannot be part of a pre-congress dialogue and internal exchanges within PASOK.» The decision is not only a «matter of principle,» Kouvelis said, but was taken because joining PASOK in such exploratory dialogue would «constrain rather than facilitate the procedure of rebuilding the broader area of the democratic left, social democracy, ecology and citizens’ movements.”

Kouvelis suggested that the PASOK’s chief overture had been a public relations stunt ahead of the socialists’ congress while what was needed was «systematic and essential efforts at redefinition.»

Venizelos described Kouvelis’ negative response as «awkward and defensive.”

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