Simitis supports Venizelos over new movement

Former Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday backed PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos’s proposal to create a new center-left party with the Socialists at its heart.

The two men met a day after Venizelos held talks with another ex-PASOK leader, George Papandreou. Unlike Simitis, Papandreou expressed opposition to Venizelos’s plan for PASOK to be incorporated within a broader group as it was when it ran as part of the Olive Tree alliance in the May European Parliament elections. Venizelos is hoping the new movement, which will be called Democratic Alignment, will hold its first congress in January.

According to sources, Simitis expressed his support for the move during the meeting. A statement issued by the ex-premier’s office after the one-hour talks said that he sees the creation of Democratic Alignment as a “significant step.”

“Mr Simitis underlined the need to intensify the effort to cooperate with all the movements and people that could contribute to the creation of the strong force necessary for political stability and the future of the country,” added the statement.

Simitis’s comments are seen as an invitation to former PASOK members that have so far shown reluctance to be part of a new effort, such as former Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou, and to others, such as former Democratic Left MP Spyros Lykoudis, who are involved in other initiatives at the moment.

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