Venizelos tells PASOK to keep all options open

Deputy Prime Minister and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos warned party officials on Friday to be prepared for early elections and indicated that the Socialists would be open to being part of a new coalition government.

“It is important that we speak about what is at stake in the country’s politics,” he told members of a committee organizing a December conference to which other parties will be invited.

Venizelos said that Parliament ought to elect a new president of the republic in February but “nobody can be sure.”

“We have to be ready for the possibility that the country’s progress will be halted so early elections can take place and that we will have to confront a populist and irresponsible attack.”

Despite his apparent swipe at SYRIZA, Venizelos indicated that he would consider working with the leftist party, as well as others, to form the next government regardless of whether there are snap elections or they are held at the end of the coalition’s four-year term in June 2016.

“There is no chance of a party having an outright majority,” he said.

“We will cooperate with others only based on truth and a transparent strategy,” added Venizelos. “We want the cooperation of all the forces that are part of the democratic arc and have a pro-European stance. We would like to have a government of progressives, but if this is not numerically possible, we will need a government of common action and responsibility.”

Venizelos also hit out at critics within PASOK, particularly those still loyal to former leader George Papandreou. “They should let us get on with our jobs, let the party have room to breathe,” he said without naming the detractors his message was aimed at.

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