NEWS

Papandreou expresses support for interim PM

PASOK leader George Papandreou displayed his support for interim Prime Minister Lucas Papademos after the two men met on Tuesday afternoon.

In what was the last of the meetings Papademos held with the leaders of the three parties in his coalition government, Papandreou appeared to give his full backing to the former European Central Bank vice president.

PASOK spokesman Panos Beglitis said that Papandreou was fully behind the idea of the interim government being allowed to carry out its ?mission? and of pushing through several structural reforms.

Papandreou did not make any statements himself but Beglitis?s comments are seen as clear sign that PASOK does not want to push for elections as soon as possible.

Papademos met with New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras and Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) chief last week. It is believed these meetings were designed to make it clear to all the parties in the coalition that they would have to cooperate more productively with the interim government.

In his statement following last week?s meeting, Samaras appeared to adopt a more flexible position on the issue of when general elections will be held. The original agreement between PASOK and ND had been for February 19.

Following his meetings with the party leaders, it is likely that Papademos will continue in his role until early April.

Papandreou was also due to take part on Tuesday in a meeting of PASOK?s political council, where the issue of when the Socialist party might start its leadership contest. It is not clear if Papandreou will seek reelection.