Aside from causing major embarrassment to the coalition government and the Prime Minister himself, the Panagiotis Baltakos affair has triggered an atmosphere of dispute within the ranks of government partner PASOK. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Evangelos Venizelos are scheduled to meet on Friday, with the scandal at the top of the agenda.
Former PASOK ministers and officers, such as Anna Diamantopoulou and Yannis Ragousis, have openly criticized Antonis Samaras’ handling of the scandal, while former PM Giorgos Papandreou has indirectly urged PASOK to leave the coalition. Leonidas Grigorakos quipped that the possibility of triple elections in May still exists, reflecting the fears of the many party members and MPs.
PASOK has prioritized maintaining political stability, especially now that it believes that the financial crisis is nearly over. As such, PASOK wants to increase the “progressive” elements in the government and is in favor of DIMAR (and other parties) joining the coalition. Christos Protopapas even suggest that as a gesture of good will New Democracy could not include Failos Kranidiotis in its European election list.
At the same time, the coalition partner is trying to distance itself from the crisis that is attributed to New Democracy. PASOK’s parliamentary representative Paris Koukoulopoulos claimed that his party was the “first and only” party to condemn Golden Dawn and its criminal activities. Mr. Koukoulopoulos also claimed to have demanded explanations regarding Baltakos’ role and actions.
PASOK’s secretary Nikos Androulakis commented on Real FM that the Prime Minister is politically responsible for Baltakos and that a full investigation must be launched to clear up any doubts. Mr. Androulakis explained that his party joined the coalition for specific reasons and will not tolerate “any Baltakos” and other such divisive phenomena.