ND, PASOK attack coalition’s strategy amid growing inner-party dissent

Efforts by Greece’s opposition parties New Democracy and PASOK to deconstruct the government’s narrative following a controversial deal with foreign lenders last week are being compromised by internal dissent.

Ahead of his party’s crucial parliamentary group meeting on Thursday, former conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has sought to shore up his defense against senior ND officials who are now openly questioning his leadership following the poor January 25 election result.

In the latest such gesture, ex-minister Dora Bakoyannis said she would raise the issue at Thursday’s meeting.

“I have one goal: to bring the party back to health. ND needs to have an honest conversation about itself, and the country needs a healthy, robust center-right party,” Bakoyannis told Skai Friday.

Bakoyannis said she would not run as a leadership candidate.

Speculation is rife that Samaras could face a challenge from the party’s pro-Karamanlis faction, which also seems to have been strengthened by the recent election of Prokopis Pavlopoulos, a close ally of ex-Premier Costas Karamanlis, as president. During a meeting between Samaras and Karamanlis on Sunday however, the latter reportedly assured the former that he will stay out of any bickering about the party’s future.

All that did not prevent ND from lashing out at the SYRIZA-led government’s negotiating strategy Friday, slamming Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis’s handling as a “fiasco” and the outcome as “monumental ambiguity.”

“[Varoufakis] never quite understood what he signed, he never quite understood that the commitments he undertook were very specific, and the ‘advantages’ that he thinks he gained were very vague,” ND said in a statement.

“Most importantly, he has not quite grasped who will be called upon to pay the price,” it added.

Criticism also came from the Socialist camp, where Evangelos Venizelos has said he plans to step down as chief after the PASOK congress in May.

Speaking Friday, Venizelos said Greece had found itself in a “strategic vacuum” as a result of the government’s policy, and repeated his proposal for a national negotiation team.

“Negotiating errors have pushed the country miles back from where it stood when Parliament was dissolved,” Venizelos said.

“A big lie split society into pro-bailout and anti-bailout camps. Now only a big and brave truth can save the nation,” he said.