Papandreou fails to dispel PASOK leadership doubt

PASOK leader George Papandreou resumed his duties as party chief on Monday after having his proposal to hold a leadership contest after the government concludes its debt restructuring talks accepted by the party?s national council late on Sunday.

Papandreou met with close advisers to discuss his next move, with some doubts persisting about whether he intends to stand as a candidate or not. The former prime minister, who is due to chair meetings of PASOK?s political council on Tuesday and Wednesday, has said on just one occasion that he does not intend to fight for a third term as party leader but his stance on other occasions has been equivocal.

This is reflected by the fact that some within his party are not convinced that Papandreou is prepared to stand aside. ?Papandreou is the master of the game and he will lead the party in the next general elections,? said Peloponnese MP Leonidas Grigorakos, who has been critical of the ex-prime minister in the past. Grigorakos predicted that dramatic developments over the next few weeks would deter other top PASOK officials from standing as leadership candidates.

?I am afraid that there is worse in store for PASOK because he does not dare to take a clear decision now,? said Dimitris Lintzeris, also a critic of Papandreou in the past.

Petros Efthymiou, a senior PASOK official, was one of the few members of the national council who voted against Papandreou?s proposal on Sunday night. He explained that he felt that the party leader?s suggestion was not clear enough and that PASOK should elect a new chief sooner.

However, one of the likely candidates, Health Minister Andreas Loverdos, said he did not have the impression Papandreou would run. ?It did not emerge from the national council that he would be a candidate, in fact quite the opposite.?

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