PASOK leader wants renewal

As a debate over the government’s 2006 budget began in Parliament last night to round off the political sparring for this year, PASOK leader George Papandreou said that his party was looking for new blood to mount a challenge in the next general elections. «I am creating and will guarantee the circumstances so that new and able candidates can be found and allowed to make their mark,» Papandreou told Sunday’s Vima newspaper. The Socialist leader has been criticized by some stalwarts of his party for his determination to renew PASOK, which is closing in on the ruling conservatives according to opinion polls last week. Papandreou suggested that he is not concerned about ditching some of PASOK’s big hitters in his effort to reform the party. «The need for renewal is the need for internal changes, personal development and change of attitude. There are many MPs who can feel the pulse of the times and be very useful,» he said.