PASOK dismisses stalwart deputy

PASOK leader George Papandreou yesterday sacked MP Yiannos Papantoniou from the Socialists’ parliamentary group over comments the former economy and finance minister made criticizing his party’s opposition to the sale of Emporiki Bank to France’s Credit Agricole. Papandreou issued a statement saying that Papantoniou had been irresponsible in «publicly stating personal views without any coordination and at the moment of a crucial confrontation.» «The only result of this is to create confusion and raise legitimate questions,» the PASOK leader added. Earlier in the week, Papantoniou criticized the government for selling Emporiki Bank to CA too cheaply. But he appeared to agree with the policy of selling the Greek bank, contrary to PASOK’s position, which had been to oppose the deal completely. In fact, Papantoniou said that he failed to understand «the crux» of his party’s argument. Yesterday’s decision means that Papantoniou, who has also served as defense minister in previous Socialist governments, will sit as an independent MP. He has not been expelled from the PASOK party. Papantoniou slammed the decision, saying it was not «consistent with the running of a modern democratic party.» He said Papandreou had the right to sack him but the important issue was «which policies will be adopted by the Greek people, who are the final judge, and this will become evident in the future.»

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