NEWS

Papandreou’s eye on next election

With just two weeks until the European parliamentary elections, more than half of Greeks say they are not interested in next month’s poll but they could soon also have to cast their ballot in a general election, as PASOK leader George Papandreou indicated in an interview with Sunday’s Kathimerini that he may force the government to go to the polls. Papandreou suggested that his party will not support the candidate that New Democracy will put forward for president of Greece next March, thereby forcing a general election to be held. The Constitution demands that 200 out of 300 MPs back the candidate in the first round, otherwise an election is called. «Instead of taking measures to confront the crisis, this government has spent its time trying to cover up scandals and manage petty party political matters,» said Papandreou. «Every day that passes is not just lost, it takes us backward. «The sooner that national elections are held, the better for the country,» he remarked. Although Papandreou did not say clearly that he would reject any candidate for president put forward by the government, even if it is current President and former PASOK Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias, his answer suggested as much. «In any case, I believe that Mr Papoulias’s reelection, if that is what he desires, will take place during the sitting of a new Parliament and with the participation of a PASOK majority,» he said. Papandreou has never before suggested so clearly that he will force elections if they do not take place before next March. His confidence is likely to have been boosted by the latest Public Issue opinion poll ahead of the June 7 Euro election, which puts PASOK at 34 percent, 6 percent ahead of ND. However, the election does not seem to have captured everybody’s imagination: 57 percent of those questioned said they are not interested in the poll.