Barbs fly as PASOK tension grows

Bickering between supporters of PASOK leader George Papandreou and his main rival Evangelos Venizelos increased yesterday as the Thessaloniki MP complained that he is being victimized by the party president’s camp. A meeting of PASOK members at the Kozani Prefecture in northern Greece turned into a slanging match between supporters of the two candidates yesterday, reflecting the heightening of tensions within the party. This set-to came a day after Theodoros Pangalos, one of the veteran MPs supporting Papandreou, suggested in a TV interview that PASOK did not need another «fuhrer or duce» to lead the party. The comment led to the Venizelos camp yesterday issuing a written complaint to party members about the treatment that the Thessaloniki deputy has been getting. Venizelos’s spokesman Yiannis Datseris suggested in the note that the Papandreou camp was intentionally seeking to create conflict so people would forget that the PASOK president had led the party to a heavy defeat in last month’s general elections. Speaking in Rethymnon, Crete, Venizelos also indicated that he was fed up with the attacks. «It requires great patience and strength to hear abuse and slanderous comments but not react,» he said. The leadership ballot will be held on November 11 with a possible second round a week later.