Rifts develop in PASOK and DIMAR over response to political newcomer

Greece’s two center-left parties, PASOK and Democratic Left (DIMAR), found themselves in turmoil Friday over disagreements about how their leaders should respond to the efforts of the country’s social democrats to revitalize their fortunes.

Late on Thursday 11 PASOK MPs sent a letter to Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos asking for a meeting of the party’s central political committee to be called. They wanted the meeting so Venizelos could brief them on how he views the idea of cooperating with a new movement of personalities, the so-called 58, who want to create a common center-left platform for May’s European Parliament elections.

Venizelos was said to be irked by the request, particularly as some of the 11 lawmakers were key figures during the reign of his predecessor, George Papandreou. However, a source close to the PASOK leader said the committee would meet on December 20 or 21.

At the same time, a rift is developing in former coalition partner DIMAR. Party secretary Spyros Likoudis announced Friday at Democratic Left’s conference that he would be stepping down from his position due to a disagreement with DIMAR leader Fotis Kouvelis over the latter’s opposition to cooperating with the “Initiative of the 58” at the polls.

“The dilemma is whether we will take a position of national responsibility and form a bulwark against bipartisanship or whether we will look to preserve ourselves at the threshold of electoral survival,” said Likoudis.

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