By Lefteris Yallouros – Athens
The 9th Party Congress of Greece’s ruling conservative New Democracy party completed proceedings on Sunday in Athens. A speech by the party’s parliamentary spokesman, Makis Voridis, however, appears to have angered socialist PASOK, the coalition government’s junior partner, placing strain on the Prime Minister’s relation with PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos.
Mr. Voridis (photo) stated that PASOK founder Andreas Papandreou is to blame for the destruction of the economy. He also attacked the left and said the party should prepare for battle against leftist ideology.
“The crisis in Greece has a given name and surname. The choices of PASOK (and) Andreas Papandreou (which were taken at a specific time for Greece) are responsible for the destruction of this country” Voridis said.
PASOK party officials lashed out against Makis Voridis calling him a supporter of the 1967 military junta, while reports suggest Venizelos made a phone call to the Prime Minister. Greek newspaper TO VIMA reports government vice-chairman Venizelos told the Premier such statements are divisive and undermine the government’s course. The PM was understanding and did not object to Venizelos’ reasoning.
Former PASOK President George Papandreou (son of Andreas Papandreou) issued a statement on Sunday saying the handling of the economy by the Karamanlis administration was to blame for Greece’s economic woes and that this was accepted by New Democracy party members. Papandreou said Greece needs unity, responsibility and seriousness but instead he sees divisional tactics behind certain comments.
Addressing the Party Congress, Antonis Samaras recognized the contribution of PASOK and the Democratic Left party to the past year’s government work, although he pointed out that they shall always have different courses. “In crucial moments, if the country demands it, a party must serve the country,” Samaras said, making indirect reference to the present coalition government with PASOK. He reiterated that the target of the two-party government now is to complete the four-year tenure. “Greece’s salvation means staying in Europe and this target was achieved by all of us together,” he said.