NEWS

PASOK race still between 3 contenders

Athens MP Anna Diamantopoulou said yesterday she will not stand as a candidate for leader of PASOK but did not back any of the three hopefuls, including Thessaloniki Deputy Evangelos Venizelos, who unveiled his 20-point manifesto. After days of speculation, Diamantopoulou said that she would not compete against Venizelos, current leader George Papandreou and fellow Athens MP Costas Skandalidis because she feared that another candidate might stretch PASOK’s unity too far. «The polarization that has occurred does not permit the true comparison of positions and this does not represent my beliefs,» said the 48-year-old former EU commissioner for employment and social affairs. «I want to be part of the solution, not the problem in politics. I want to fight for a victorious PASOK and that is why I am not standing as a candidate.» Diamantopoulou proposed that the leadership ballot be held on October 21 and not November 11. At around the same time that Diamantopoulou was turning her back on the leadership race, Venizelos stepped up the pace by unveiling a manifesto of «20 positions for PASOK and the country» which he hopes will be the basis for discussion among party members. The nine-page document did not give policy details but provided a general overview of Venizelos’s stance on a range of key issues, such as the social security problem, the environment and education reform. The former culture minister said that he wants PASOK to «believe in the values of the Socialist Left.» «PASOK did not lose the elections because of a lack of good ideologies and policies,» said Venizelos. «It lost to the Left because it was not convincing in opposition and to the Right because it did not convince as an alternative government.» «The main issue, therefore, is of political competence, clarity and trustworthiness,» he added in a thinly veiled attack on Papandreou. The PASOK leader is expected to respond with his positions during a meeting of the party’s national council over the weekend.