Ex-PM George Papandreou said to be planning to announce new party by year-end

Former Prime Minister and ex-PASOK chief George Papandreou is reportedly poised to announce the formation of a new political party, Skai television cited Parliamentary sources as saying early in Tuesday.

The ex-premier has been seen distancing himself for several weeks from the center-left party founded by his father, Andreas Papandreou, in 1974. He is now said to be getting ready to launch a new party of his own, composed of politicians from his inner circle.

Skai said, however, that Papandreou has pledged to back the coalition New Democracy-PASOK government’s candidate for president before making any announcements, possibly on December 30, when it becomes clear whether Parliament has elected a new president or whether Greece will go to general elections either in late January or early February.

PASOK saw its popularity plummet from 43.92 percent of the popular vote in the October 2009 general elections, when it was voted into power with Papandreou at the helm, to 13.18 percent in the power-sharing government of May 2012, after it signed Greece’s entry into an austerity-driven bailout agreement with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Papandreou was replaced as PASOK chief ahead of the May elections by incumbent Evangelos Venizelos.