PASOK battle heats up

The three contenders for the PASOK party leadership measured the fallout from the weekend’s national council yesterday as they put the wheels in motion for their election campaigns. The candidates – George Papandreou, Evangelos Venizelos and Costas Skandalidis – are expected to cover the country ahead of the November 11 leadership elections in a bid to win support. «This procedure is necessary. It will make us a lot stronger after November 11,» Papandreou told a television interview. The PASOK leader said he was given «a cross to bear» when he took over the party in 2004. He added, however, that if he loses the ballot, he will support the winner. Opinion polls show Papandreou as winning the leadership bout but Venizelos is seen as the candidate able to beat Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. A Metron Analysis poll showed that 52 percent chose Papandreou as the winner next month with 39 percent tipping Venizelos. However, 48 percent see Venizelos as winning the next national elections, while the 41 percent backed Papandreou.