Laliotis goes, and has his say

Costas Laliotis rejected PM Costas Simitis’s offer of the post of agriculture minister in exchange for resigning as PASOK’s general secretary. Opting to distance himself, he said he will not run for Parliament in the next elections but indicated he will keep an eye on developments. In a speech detailing his 20 months as general secretary and his 29 years in the party, Laliotis indicated that he will not sit quietly and, using a favored electoral tactic, he cast blame for his fall on a third party – the US ambassador. His suggestion that he was punished because he had organized demonstrations before the Iraq war was intended to hurt his successor, Michalis Chrysochoidis, and Foreign Minister George Papandreou, both of whom have good relations with US officials. On Simitis, he told the Central Committee, «I respect his choices and his reasoning. But I disagree radically with his decision because I do not feel that I am an obstacle to his strategy for victory and PASOK’s renewal.» He likened his departure to the sacrifice of the princess Iphigeneia before the Trojan War. «I sincerely hope that with my sacrifice a tailwind will blow… and PASOK will win again,» he said.

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