FM: Simitis is PASOK’s chairman

Foreign Minister George Papandreou stressed yesterday that he would do nothing to undermine Prime Minister Costas Simitis in the runup to the elections, despite persistent rumors of a leadership change at the head of PASOK. Speaking at a party gathering in Almyros in central Greece, Papandreou, who is the favorite to succeed Simitis, repeated the statement he made on Sunday which indicated he was interested in the party leadership. «Every one of us has to undertake his responsibilities, whether as a simple member or as one of the party’s leaders. I too undertake my responsibility for anything the party calls on me to do,» he said. «But I want to stress that we respect institutions. And today PASOK has a prime minister and chairman, Costas Simitis, who was elected by our congress, and we are heading for elections triumphantly with Costas Simitis,» Papandreou added. Simitis, who returned late on Tuesday from a five-day visit to Brussels and London, refused to comment yesterday, telling aides he had already made clear that he would lead PASOK in the elections.