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Simitis Ousted from Parliamentary Group

Developments in the opposition party are unprecedented and fast with unknown effects. In his reply letter, PASOK President George Papandreou ousts former PM from the party’s parliamentary group. Mr Simitis’ letter that disagrees with Mr Papandreou’s decision to support a referendum on the ratification of the New EU Treaty has sparked intense reactions. In his letter, Mr Simitis speaks of deviations on Andreas Papandreou’s policy and on his policies during his premiership.

Sources: ΝΕΤ, ΝΕΤ 105.8, ΑNA 

The PASOK headquarters described Mr Simitis’ disagreement incomprehensible, stressing that it is disorientating. On his side, Mr. C. Simitis announced that he is not going to step down as he thinks that Mr. Papandreou’s action is ostensible and that he will continue intervening when necessary. PASOK secretary calls on all members to show restrain in their public announcements. Mr. Venizelos stated that he is only interested in the unity of the party.

Reactions
PASOK spokesman George Papakonstantinou described Mr Simitis’ letter incomprehensible, as he had agreed with the declaration of a referendum in 2005.
Messrs Christos Papoutsis and Michalis Chrysohoidis agreed that PASOK does not benefit from the letter, while Mr Telemachos Chytiris stated that it had caused confusion, discomfort and disorientation in the party.

Commenting on Mr Simitis and Papandreou’s confrontation, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros stated that it is evident that PASOK has two different policies as usual. From his side, SUN Parliamentary leader Alekos Alavanos refused to comment on Mr Simitis’ letter, adding that he does not interfere with other parties’ policies.

Mr. Simitis' Letter to G. Papandreou
Former Prime Minister in his letter to G. Papandreou stressed that he preserves the right to express his opinions to act according to his conscience and to judge what is good for its country. "I am nor going to deny my freedom to express my opinion and to be able to stress to my party when things are going well or not", Mr. Simitis explains. As per his disagreement on the referendum regarding Lisbon Treaty, Mr. Simitis said that this is something different from the European Constitution and that the European Socialist Party is treating Lisbon Treaty as one of the usual treaties.

Mr. Simitis also underlined to Mr. Papandreou that PASOK has lost all electoral battles from 2004, under his presidency while the percentage and voters’ response has been reduced dramatically.

"Unjustified Political Action"
In his letter to former Prime Minister, Mr. Papandreou stresses that the referendum issue has been resolved with mutual and clear decisions taken by PASOK by its Congress and its Political Council. So Mr. Simitis’ actions should have been avoided. The release to public of Mr. Simitis letter, his public differentiation and his denial to join the majority of PASOK Parliamentary Group regarding the submission of the proposal are considered by Mr. Papandreou as an unjustified political action, as it "creates questions on the political will and targets of the party, confusion and disorientation to the public who is now being hit by high cost of living and New Democracy’s policies.

As President of PASOK refers in his letter, it is obvious that Mr. Simitis has decided to act out of PASOK’s limits, being autonomous and independent an action that Mr. Papandreou can understand but can not accept. However, PASOK president respects as he claims the history and Mr. Simitis’ contribution to the party and for that reason he will not follow the typical procedure of addressing the President of Parliament and he will always value the opinions of former prime minister.




Friday, June 13, 2008