Papandreou to launch new party

Former Prime Minister George Papandreou is due to announce Saturday afternoon the creation of a new party, which he will lead and which will take part in the January 25 elections, much to the annoyance of PASOK leader and Deputy Premier Evangelos Venizelos.

The former PASOK chief confirmed via his personal website Friday that he will announce the launch of a new movement “to house our progressive values” at the Benaki Museum at 5.30 p.m.

“From tomorrow, we will be taking part in the start of a movement which can and needs to respond to the major issues that affect the country and its people,” said Papandreou in his message on Friday. He added that it is also one of the new party’s aims to create a “Greek plan” to exit the crisis.

Five PASOK MPs, including Filippos Sachinidis and Thanos Moraitis, are expected to line up alongside the former prime minister. Ex-minister Dimitris Reppas is also thought to be among the PASOK members who will exit the party led by Venizelos to join Papandreou’s new movement.

The former PASOK leader’s announcement prompted an angry reaction from the Socialist party. “We are saddened by the immoral and unethical political action of George Papandreou, which aims to break up PASOK,” said the coalition partner in a statement.

“Unfortunately, he is behaving like an heir who wants to destroy the PASOK that his father founded, the same party that honored him by electing him its president and helping him become prime minister.”

The Socialists also announced Friday that MEP Eva Kaili would take on the role of being the party’s spokeswoman during the election campaign.