ATHENS – Abandoning the PASOK Socialists his father founded, former Prime Minister George Papandreou is reportedly ready to create a new party compromised of his inner circle of supporters.
Papandreou, the former PASOK chief, has been distancing himself from the party and its current leader, Evangelos Venizelos, who serves as Deputy Premier/Foreign Minister in the coalition government headed by Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras.
Papandreou has been unhappy that the floundering party, which got almost 44 percent of the vote in 2009 when he won office but has fallen to as low as 3 percent for its support of harsh austerity measures, has been losing its prominence in Greek politics.
Venizelos last year aligned PASOK with a new movement, the Olive Tree, to gain some seats in the European Parliament and now is ready to dissolve the Socialists and create his own party, Democratic Alignment, in a desperate bid to keep from disappearing.
Papandreou’s father, former premier Andreas Papandreou, founded PASOK in 1974 and began embarking on wild spending sprees and runaway patronage hires in return for votes, helping create the economic crisis that drove his son in 2010 to seek international bailouts after being elected on the promise, “The money is there.”
SKAI TV reported Papandreou was ready to create the party that hasn’t been named but is waiting first to back the New Democracy-PASOK candidate for Greek President, New Democracy Vice-President Stavros Dimas. As a former MP, Papandreou still has a seat in Parliament.
Papandreou was replaced as PASOK chief ahead of the May elections by Venizelos, who had been trying to oust him from power for years.
Papandreou was hounded out of office in 2011 after relentless protests, strikes and riots against big pay cuts, tax hikes, and slashed pensions he imposed in return for international bailouts he pleaded for.