PASOK admits party’s debt grew by 110 mln euros over last decade

PASOK added about 110 million euros to its debt in the last decade, Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos said on Thursday as he pledged to restore the party’s finances to good health.

Venizelos presented to his party’s political council the result of an audit carried out by six accounting firms on the Socialists’ finances from 2003 to the present day. Venizelos said that the party had consistently spent 30 percent more than it earned and had added an average of 10 million euros to its debt.

The report suggested that the party’s debt currently stands at 128 million euros. It was at 18 million euros in 2003, a year before Costas Simitis stood down for George Papandreou to take over the party. Papandreou has been irked by the audit and some reports alleging extravagances during his time at the party’s helm. Venizelos, however, insisted that shedding light on PASOK’s finances was necessary for the party to move forward.

“Unity comes through transparency and the truth,” said Venizelos, who added that Papandreou should take legal action if he feels he’s been slighted.

From 2003 to 2011, the party spent and average of 2 million euros a month. It plans to reduce its monthly outgoings to 100,000 euros and is to submit proposals to Parliament regarding the management of party finances.

Venizelos has renewed his overtures toward Democratic Left this week. The Socialist leader suggested that the two parties should combine forces for next year’s European Parliament elections. Democratic Left (DIMAR), however, rebuffed Venizelos’s advances.

DIMAR’s spokesman, Andreas Papadopoulos, insisted on Thursday that the party would be standing alone in the Euro elections. He said his party would seek alliances with “figures from the wider progressive field but who have distanced themselves from the past.”

Venizelos denied he had made a specific approach to DIMAR, arguing instead that he had made an appeal to center-left voters.