PASOK nixes Papandreou leadership challenge

The junior coalition partner PASOK rejected over the weekend a proposal by the party’s former leader and ex-premier George Papandreou for the party to call an emergency congress and a subsequent leadership election, warning against “miserable navel-gazing” that risks fuelling “uncertainty and instability.”

In a sharply-worded statement, which underscored the tensions between PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and his predecessor Papandreou, the party said it would move forward based on decisions from its congress last year and recent decisions by its political committee. Papandreou is entitled to express his opinions as a member of the party’s central bodies, the statement noted. But it added a clear warning: “We will not allow anyone to disrupt the framework within which PASOK, the Democratic Alignment, and chiefly the country, are operating.”

Venizelos on Friday won the support of another former PASOK premier, Costas Simitis, to create a new center-left party with the Socialists at its heart. After Friday’s meeting between Venizelos and Simitis, the latter’s office described the creation of a new party, which would be called Democratic Alignment, as a “significant step.” Papandreou is opposed to PASOK, which was founded by his father, being incorporated within a broader group.

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