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New parties draw supporters of PASOK and New Democracy, while thousands of Greeks seek the support of former King Constantine

02 March 2012 / 20:03:28  GRReporter
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Internal party elections in PASOK with the participation of members and supporters of the party will be held on 18 March. A week earlier, a national conference will be held. These are the decisions adopted at today's meeting of the members of the National Council.
At the same time, many of the major representatives of the party are turning to the formation of an informal third pole to be distinguished from the applications of Evangelos Venizelos and Christos Papoutsis for leadership of PASOK. Among them are the Deputy Prime Minister Theodoros Pangalos and the Deputy Minister of Citizen Protection Yiannis Ragousis. Although they are not acting in coordination, they will start a discussion on the future of PASOK in the coming days. So far, it seems that no third application is being planned to become the wedge between the two main contenders. Given the opportunities and the backstage negotiations running at present, eventually, there will be no opportunity for the emergence of a third nomination.

According to the statutes of PASOK, the basic prerequisite for the acceptance of an application is its support by the signatures of 100 members of the National Council. Currently, they are under 400. If the Minister of Finance collects 200 signatures and the recent Minister of Citizen Protection collects 100 signatures, there will be no option for a third candidate in practice.

Under these conditions, Theodoros Pangalos and Yannis Ragousis are expected to express their position on the change of leadership of PASOK without supporting either candidate. Sources say their goal will be to start a political discussion about the party orientation before and after the early parliamentary elections.

Similar are the intentions of Minister of Education Anna Diamantopoulou, who will not support any of the applications either. According to sources, a group of young party members who identify themselves as “young reformers” has proposed her to apply. If she makes this move eventually, it is assessed that it will impede the election of the leader of PASOK in the first round of internal party elections.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Development Mcihalis Chrysochoidis, who has not withdrawn his statement that he will run, is not showing his intentions. His collaborators do not miss to note, however, that he is annoyed by the rumours placing him among the supporters of the Venizelos -Loverdos tandem.

Earlier today, the former ardent supporter of George Papandreou and minister in his government Haris Kastanidis announced he is going to establish a new party that will involve disaffiliated members with PASOK.

"There are negotiations and discussions running between the disaffiliated deputies in order to coordinate the parliamentary and political activity," he said, but declined to comment on whether negotiations are held with deputies disaffiliated with other parties.

"Until now, we have been counting the number of deputies in each party. From now on, we will count how many parties there are per deputy," wrote a Greek journalist on his Facebook page.

His comment is more than accurate given the increasingly growing swarming of parties. Analysts say, however, that few of them will participate in elections and the majority of them will act as a springboard for the transfer of voters from one to another formation. An example is the newly established Greek "Northern League" of Panagiotis Psomiadis, which carries a very predictable name "Homeland". It is expected that the followers of the movement of the patriotic politician from Thessaloniki will be redirected to vote in favour of another new party "Independent Greeks" of the former Prime Minister of New Democracy and now independent deputy Panos Kamenos.

The lowered rates of approval in the polls and a title in one of the central Greek newspapers that the deputy from the far-right party LAOS Kyriakos Velopoulos has exported 400,000 euro to a foreign bank has apparently forced its leadership to throw another "hand grenade".

"Would you be surprised? Existing members of PASOK and New Democracy come back to us. Wait and you'll see," said the party spokesman Kostas Aivaliotis on the air.

And while the major parties are concerned with the low tide of supporters and the new ones are holding a competition for populism to attract as many as they could, the Greeks are sending letters to former King Constantine. From early 2011 until today, the letters received in his office are more than 140 000.

Unofficial sources say that in most of them, Greeks describe the problems posed by the economic crisis, while others directly request him to intervene in the political life.

Tags: PoliticsPASOKInternal party electionsNew partiesConstantine
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