Papandreou pledges to break with the past

PASOK leader George Papandreou told his party conference yesterday that the Socialists would draw up a «new contract» with the electorate in a bid to gain power at the next general elections. Papandreou pledged that his government would be more transparent than New Democracy, which he accused of being hostage to vested interests. «The countdown for the Right has begun,» he told some 5,500 delegates. «They are on the way out and they are looking for votes through favors.» PASOK is up to 3 percent behind New Democracy in most opinion polls but Papandreou trails Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis by a significantly larger margin. Papandreou reserved some of his most stinging comments for his rival for the premiership. He accused Karamanlis of «covering up the evidence relating to the bonds scandal, doing away with political responsibility and being afraid of new revelations.» Papandreou also sent a message to officials who are on the fringes of the party, suggesting they would have to conform with his vision if they want to be part of any future government. «Everyone will be evaluated,» he said. «There are figures that have become trapped in the syndrome of permanence, that have succumbed to the allure of power.» His comments were aimed at former ministers Yiannos Papantoniou and Kimon Koulouris. Both MPs have been expelled from PASOK’s parliamentary group.