PASOK’s national council to decide on leadership issue

The decision about when PASOK will elect a new leader will be taken at the party?s national council, which will be held on January 14 and 15 after current chief George Papandreou announced his intention to stand aside.

Papandreou prompted fresh turmoil in his party after declaring at a meeting of the Socialists? political council on Wednesday that he would quit as party president after the next general elections, which are likely to be held in April.

He indicated he would allow someone else to stand as PASOK?s candidate for prime minister in those elections.

This prompted strong objections from some members of the political council, who demanded that Papandreou step down immediately.

Speaking to Skai radio on Thursday, PASOK?s parliamentary spokesman Petros Efthymiou said that it was best for Papandreou to go now.

?George Papandreou has completed a cycle during which he offered much but there was also a cycle of problems that have become associated with him and in the current circumstances it is best for him to leave,? said the MP.

Another Socialist lawmaker, Sofia Giannaka said that Papandreou?s decision to announce he would lead was ?brave? but that the method he proposed to do so was ?chaotic? and would not work.

PASOK MP Nikos Salagiannis also called for Papandreou to step down immediately and accused him of behaving undemocratically.

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