SYRIZA shuns ‘hellish’ PASOK

Working with PASOK ahead of the next general elections would be like «a descent into Hades,» according to the former leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Alekos Alavanos, who is currently the head of the party’s parliamentary group. Alavanos was reacting to speculation over the last few days by PASOK MPs and the former leader of his party, Nikos Constantopoulos, that SYRIZA and PASOK could work together to beat New Democracy in the next elections. PASOK has flirted with the idea since Alexis Tsipras was voted in as leader of Synaspismos, the main party in the SYRIZA coalition, in February. Tsipras’s popularity is mainly the reason that PASOK has sought ways to cooperate with his party. According to a Public Issue poll earlier this month, Tsipras is now seen as the second most suitable candidate for prime minister ahead of PASOK leader George Papandreou. The same poll has SYRIZA earning 17.5 percent of the popular vote compared to PASOK’s 31 percent. But Alavanos gave the clearest indication yet that the left-wing party is not interested in cooperating with the Socialists. «If we were to appear on the same ticket at the elections, there would be a sharp decline in SYRIZA’s powers,» he said, before likening the possibility of a coalition as a descent into hell. The view that SYRIZA has nothing in common with PASOK was supported by Tsipras. «There is a convergence of views, but it’s between PASOK and ND,» he said yesterday. PASOK spokesman Giorgos Papaconstantinou refused to comment on what Alavanos had said but insisted that his party was still looking to «start a dialogue with SYRIZA, but nobody can determine what direction this dialogue will take when the other party does not come to talk.» However, Papaconstantinou admitted that it was looking increasingly unlikely that the two parties will be able to find any common ground. «When the SYRIZA president turns his back on former leaders who dared to speak of cooperation and when he refers to PASOK in derogatory terms, then it is very difficult for there to be any dialogue,» he said.