NEWS

Minister calls for ex-PM to resign

The first PASOK member to publicly declare his interest in becoming the party?s next leader, Development Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis, on Sunday issued a direct challenge to former Prime Minister George Papandreou.

Papandreou has yet to make it clear if he plans to lead the party into the next elections but Chrysochoidis was clear about what the ex-premier?s decision should be. ?If the leader can no longer effectively represent the party, he has to go,? the minister told Mega TV.

?The party must go into the next elections with a new leadership and a new set of policies,? added Chrysochoidis.? He called for a leadership contest to be held after the Christmas and New Year?s holidays.

The minister went on to say that the PASOK government had failed because it caused an unprecedented recession, poverty and national humiliation but added that Papandreou was mostly to blame.

It remains unclear who the other candidates in a PASOK leadership race would be, although Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Health Minister Andreas Loverdos are expected to stand.

Kathimerini understands that another possible candidate, Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou, along with former Transport Minister Yiannis Ragousis held a meeting last week with some of the founders of the non-partisan movement Social Bond (Koinonikos Syndesmos).

The two PASOK politicians met with constitutional expert Nikos Alivizatos, author Apostolos Doxiadis and entrepreneur Aristos Doxiadis. The meeting has fuelled speculation that a new political party may be formed soon.