Thursday, November 8, 2012

PASOK Loses Another MP, Androulakis Quits

Former PASOK veteran Mimis Androulakis

After ejecting six of his Members of Parliament for not supporting a $17.45 billion spending cut and tax hike plan, PASOK Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos has lost another one after veteran deputy Mimis Androulakis quit the party, adding to its turmoil.
Venizelos was a staunch supporter of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ austerity plan but now has seen his base in Parliament fall from 33 to only 27 members as the party has fallen to as low as 5.5 percent in polls.
PASOK got 44 percent of the vote in 2009 when it won the Prime Minister’s office, but Venizelos is scrambling to prevent defections and challenges to his brief tenure as leader.
Curiously, Androulakis – who was a frequent critic of the government  – voted in favor of more austerity during a dramatic midnight vote on Nov. 7 after saying he would oppose it. He has waffled on his position a number of times. The package passed by a narrow three-vote majority. Androulakis said he now would vote against the 2013 budget on Nov. 11.
“My opposition to the budget is fundamental,” Androulakis told radio station Vima FM without explaining why he voted for it nor why he’s changed his mind again. He will join other ousted members from New Democracy and PASOK in becoming an independent MP.
Another PASOK veteran and former minister, Andreas Loverdos, who is seen as a challenger to Venizelos but voted for austerity, called for an urgent meeting of the party’s parliamentary committee to discuss what he called the “deep crisis” it is facing as it falls in the polls.

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