PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos is hoping that the appearance Wednesday of his predecessors, George Papandreou and Costas Simitis, at the two-day conference marking the 39th anniversary of PASOK’s founding will mark a moment of unity for the troubled party.
Venizelos spoke at the event Tuesday ahead of speeches by Papandreou and Simitis Wednesday. He was upbeat about the party’s prospects of recovering from the dramatic decline in support that it experienced over the last few years. “PASOK does not exist, and never existed, to serve its own ends,” he said. “It exists to serve the country, progressive societies and political forces, it exists in the name of its ideas and the responsibilities it has shouldered over time.”
The first day of the gathering brought a mixed message regarding what direction PASOK should take in the future. Venizelos devoted part of his speech to attacking SYRIZA, accusing the leftists of being in a “strategic dead-end” and of readopting their 2012 pre-election rhetoric regarding Greece unilaterally tearing up the terms of its bailout.
Ex-minister Dimitris Reppas, however, suggested that PASOK should prepare to be a junior coalition partner in a SYRIZA-led government. “PASOK should take the initiative and show that it is ready for the prospect of working with SYRIZA,” he said.