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George Papandreou to withdraw from the leadership post in PASOK

13 January 2012 / 18:01:25  GRReporter
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George Papandreou is expected to announce his intention to withdraw from the PASOK leadership before the elections. Once again, however, the exact momentum for the step long-awaited by many countries is associated with two conditions - the voluntary haircut of the Greek debt and the signing of the new Greek loan agreements.

However, the developments may not confirm these expectations. One possible scenario did not exclude the possibility of George Papandreou resigning from the leadership of PASOK today, after his meeting with President Carlos Papoulias. However, this has not happened.

The change in his appointments began last night. The former Prime Minister held a discussion with the present one, Lucas Papademos, by phone, although they both were in their offices in Parliament, which are in close proximity. It was officially reported that the two men had talked about the progress of the voluntary cut of the Greek debt and the new loan agreement, and that George Papandreou had expressed his support for the office of Lucas Papademos. According to sources, however, the conversation had turned to the change of the leadership in PASOK. They argue that Lucas Papademos is fully aware of the intentions of his predecessor.

From today, the party that ruled Greece for more than twenty years has entered the most difficult period since its establishment. The session of its political council will begin in the late afternoon. Several hours earlier, George Papandreou asked to meet the President.

He said nothing about the internal party developments before the television cameras. However, when Carlos Papoulias asked him how he was, George Papandreou said, "A struggle. This is a constant struggle." He stated that the coming weeks will be crucial for his party and the country and appealed to all political forces to support "without ulterior motive" all parties that support today's Greek government.

According to sources, close associates of George Papandreou had contacts with members of PASOK as well as with some of the main contenders for the leadership on Wednesday. In recent hours, most of them rushed to make statements that they have to abandon their personal ambitions because of the difficult decisions about the fate of the country and economy. Many commentators argue that the statements of Ministers Anna Diamandopoulou and Michalis Chrysochoidis, who supported the postponement of the internal developments after the signing of the PSI and the new loan agreements, are not at all random.

Developments will also depend on the final number of candidates, who will apply. According to the statutes, the signatures of at least 100 members of the National Council must support each application. It is not yet clear what steps Andreas Loverdos and Michalis Chrysochoidis will take. On Thursday, former Minister Stephanos Tsoumakas joined the list of candidates. The applications of Louka Katseli and Harris Kastanidis are at issue and the position of Anna Diamandopoulou is not yet clear. In a letter published on Wednesday, she supported the shift of internal party developments after the conclusion of the two agreements crucial to Greece and raised again the question of cabinet reshuffling and that the candidates for the leadership of PASOK should withdraw their participation in the office.

The only one who has not announced his intentions is the Minister of Finance Evangelos Venizelos. His associates undertook to communicate the message to the others, he is determined not to lose time and his purpose is for PASOK to have a new leader on Sunday elected by the National Council, although a change in the party statute is necessary for this purpose.

According to the latest information, serious obstacles to choosing a new leader have been noted in recent hours. After the mutual exchange of remarks through associates, George Papandreou and Evangelos Venizelos spoke on the phone without reaching any agreement.

Consequently, the Political Council members, who support the Minister of Finance decided not to speak at the meeting of the Political Council, which will begin tonight, and to do so during the National Council meeting.

Earlier, sources from the headquarters of George Papandreou announced his intention to make a unifying proposal. According to them, he intended to withdraw his proposal for a dual leadership and to announce that he would remain the party leader until the early summer. After Evangelos Venizelos’ disagreement to accept it, the speech of the former Prime Minister is awaited with great interest.

At the same time, 20 members of PASOK are preparing to submit a joint proposal during the discussions at the meeting of the National Council. It includes the submission of a full and frank statement for the PASOK government mandate, a programme to emerge from the crisis and an immediate and transparent election of a new party leader.

Seven others, mostly deputy ministers support the extension of the government of Lucas Papademos to October 2013, when the term of office of the PASOK government elected in 2009 was due to finish.

Tags: PoliticsPASOKGeorge PapandreouInternal party electionsLeadership positionEvangelos VenizelosCandidates
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