Papandreou set to accept end of PASOK tenure

PASOK president George Papandreou will respect the decision of the party?s national council, which is due to meet next weekend, regarding the process to elect the next Socialist leader, sources close to the former prime minister said on Thursday.

During a meeting of PASOK?s political council on Wednesday, Papandreou proposed that he remain as president for the time being but that someone else stand as the party?s candidate for prime minister in the general elections that could take place in April.

The ex-premier said that he would launch the process to elected a new president after the parliamentary elections.

His proposal has to be put to the party?s national council, which is due to meet on January 14 and 15. Sources close to Papandreou said that if the council rejects the idea and calls for an immediate leadership contest then the former prime minister would accept the decision.

Such a position would appear to reflect an acceptance of the negative mood in the party and particularly among PASOK?s hierarchy regarding the proposal made by Papandreou and the prospect of him remaining in his current post.

Development Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis, the only PASOK official to publicly declare an interest in the party leadership, launched a devastating attack on Papandreou?s scheme, calling it ?tantamount to a pact of silence while standing on ruins.? He said that Papandreou?s decision to accept that he would eventually have to stand aside was an ?indirect acknowledgement of his responsibilities while in government.?

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.

Former Economy Minister Louka Katseli said that she is considering taking part in the leadership race.

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