Socialists enlist top party critic

The ruling Socialists’ most prominent party rebel, former minister Theodoros Pangalos, has been appointed joint head of PASOK’s campaign for re-election, a top official said yesterday. PASOK General Secretary Michalis Chrysochoidis said he would head the new central electoral committee jointly with Pangalos, 65, an Attica MP who held the foreign affairs portfolio from 1996-99, and was culture minister for seven months in 2000. «The committee will bear the main responsibility for the electoral fight, which it will coordinate,» Chrysochoidis said. Ever since being sacked in November 2000 for publicly criticizing government policy, Pangalos has repeatedly attacked the Socialists on a number of fronts, recently predicting defeat in the forthcoming elections – which are expected to take place in late April or early May. But, in recent months, he has toned down his invective and was widely rumored to be jockeying for a Cabinet job ahead of July’s reshuffle. PASOK is trailing conservative New Democracy by nearly 8 percentage points, according to recent polls.