Papandreou to meet Venizelos amid PASOK turmoil

PASOK leader George Papandreou is due to meet Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Thursday morning in what could be crucial talks concerning the party?s future.

Papandreou is due to attend a meeting of PASOK?s parliamentary group later on Thursday. There is speculation that some MPs may call for a vote of no confidence in Papandreou in a bid to force him to quit.

PASOK is due to hold its leadership election in mid-March but if Papandreou is ousted, the deputies could then elect a new leader themselves.

Venizelos is the favorite to succeed Papandreou after receiving the backing of Health Minister Andreas Loverdos this week.

Speaking on Tuesday in a joint press conference, Loverdos said he would join forces with Venizelos to avoid further division within PASOK.

?We have decided with Mr Venizelos to fight together for the country and within PASOK,? he said. ?We will proceed together.?

Loverdos and Venizelos had been among the favorites to succeed PASOK leader George Papandreou but the two men also have a history of cooperation. Loverdos was one of Venizelos?s leading supporters when he unsuccessfully challenged Papandreou for the party leadership in 2007.

So far, Development Minister Micahlis Chrysochoidis is the the only Cabinet member to declare an interest in leading PASOK.