PASOK waits to see fruit of odd expansion

In a campaign stop in the Cretan city of Iraklion today, PASOK chairman George Papandreou is expected to explain the reasoning behind his opening of the Socialist party to two leading members of the conservative New Democracy government of 1990-93. Reactions to Papandreou’s decision to place Stefanos Manos and Andreas Andrianopoulos on PASOK’s list of state deputy candidates have been muted, but officials are waiting to see what the fallout will be. Some leading members noted in private yesterday that Papandreou was forced to call on the neoliberal duo in an effort to stem the flow of voters toward ND, which is estimated at 10 percent of those who voted for PASOK in 2000. Others worry that the Socialists will bleed toward the left and that the newcomers signal the pushing aside of veteran party members. Former Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis, who had headed the government of which Manos and Andrianopoulos were leading members, said yesterday that they had destroyed their political careers but that PASOK also would pay a heavy price. Antonis Samaras, a former foreign minister who brought down Mitsotakis’s government, yesterday pledged support for ND but is not expected to be allowed back into the party before the March 7 elections.