NEWS

Papandreou ready to clear the way

Former Prime Minister George Papandreou is prepared to step down as PASOK leader and set in motion the process to elect a new one next week, Kathimerini understands.

Papandreou?s aides let it be known on Tuesday that after weeks of remaining silent about whether he intended to contest the party presidency for a third time, the ex-premier has decided he will stand aside and allow rivals to battle it out to lead the Socialists at the next general elections.

Sources said that Papandreou plans to call for all the party organizations, at both the local and national levels, to convene next week to discuss the party?s performance while in government over the past two years and the direction the Socialists should head in next.

Papandreou would oversee the process, culminating in the leadership election — probably in mid-January. The former prime minister?s aides suggested that the only way Papandreou would change his mind is if he feels that the other candidates make unjustified attacks on the government?s record while he was at the country?s helm.

Development Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis, who is the only PASOK member so far to declare his intention to stand in the leadership race, continued to promote his credentials. ?Greece needs politicians that are prepared to get down to work and get us out of the crisis so we don?t lose another generation,? he said in an op-ed in Ta Nea daily.

However, PASOK MP Christos Protopappas suggested that Chrysochoidis was attempting to skirt around his own involvement in the government during the past two year. ?It is not desirable to be in the front line and then to suggest that you were not,? said the lawmaker.