PASOK party leader Nikos Androulakis on Monday announced that his party, third in terms of MPs in Greece’s 300-MP Parliament, is in favor of legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in the country. He also referred to the burning issue of high food costs and a shortage of rental properties, a particularly acute problem in the greater Athens area.
Androulakis, a former MEP, spoke during an interview on the prime-time newscast of Ant1 channel.
Regarding the party’s stance on same-sex marriage, he said PASOK is in favor of legislating civil unions for same-sex couples. He reminded out that under a previous SYRIZA government (2015-19) all PASOK MPs voted for a co-habitation agreement, whereas only 19 out of 75 New Democracy party MPs in Parliament at the time voted for the same agreement.
However, on the issue of children being born to same-sex couples via a surrogate mother, Androulakis expressed his reservations, stating: “In principle, we are positive about the provision for same-sex couples, but how can we say ‘yes’ to a law that hasn’t yet been tabled in Parliament? We are interested in the rights of children, but the idea that we will place an order specifying the name and gender, that’s the last thing we need.”
Asked about a previous statement whereby PASOK will “not tie Mr. Mitsotakis’ shoelaces,” he clarified that “I said this in response to whether we will raise the issue of party discipline.” He said the quip emanated from the fact that PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis said ND will not demand that ruling party MPs “toe the party line”, saying the issue was a “conscientious decision” and not one of policy. Mitsotakis also said abstention from the vote for those in his party opposed was an “honorable option”.
Regarding comments by the presdient of SYRIZA Stefanos Kasselakis that he will not collaborate with an “extorted party president”, as he characterized Androulakis, the latter said: “It’s not a matter of collaboration. It’s a matter of political ethics, principles and respect for citizens and the entire Greek people. Desperation from the polls led Mr. Kasselakis to this unacceptable statement.”
On the issue of rental prices and government policies, Androulakis highlighted, among other points, “Today, rents for family homes have increased by 40%, and for smaller homes for students, they have risen by 50%. PASOK advocates abolishment of the golden visa scheme and urges a national policy for more affordable housing through a social housing program. The emphasis is the reduction of rents. What is the government doing? It is raising the golden visa limit in Santorini and the center of Athens, areas already beyond the reach of average Greeks, where finding an apartment under 500,000 euros is challenging, while maintaining it at 250,000 euros in popular neighborhoods. After 10-15 years, a middle-class child won’t be able to afford a home to start a family.”
Addressing the issue of surging inflation, Androulakis emphasized that there must be “increased inspections, and any supermarkets found with unjustifiably inflated prices should face boycotts on their products; Mr. Mitsotakis serves the interests of the powerful and multinationals, we, on the other hand, serve the interests of the people.”