Is Geogre Papandreou Launching a New Party?



Greece's Prime Minister George Papandreou delivers a speech during an economic conference in Athens

The climate between Former Prime Minister and President of PASOK George Papandreou and the party’s current leader, Greek government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, has never been the best possible. The two came head to head for the first time on September 16, 2007, after PASOK’s second consecutive electoral defeat with Papandreou in charge, when the very same night and after the exit polls’ announcement, Venizelos openly questioned Papandreou’s leadership in a live broadcast. The following inner party elections two months later would assure Papandreou’s dominance inside the party his late father, Andreas Papandreou, founded four decades ago.

Ever since, PASOK has been separated in two blocks, even after Papandreou’s departure from the party’s leadership, and the two leading socialist figures’ meeting on late November just confirmed the rumors of a definitive split, despite leaks talking about a meeting held in a “friendly and positive” climate.

The latest speculation regarding Papandreou’s next move proves that there is no place for any “friendship” or “positiveness.” According to sources close to the Former Prime Minister, he appears ready to leave PASOK behind and proceed to the establishment of a new party, ideologically close to what PASOK used to represent. As his close associates whisper, the final decisions might even come over the coming weeks in relation to the country’s political developments.

Papandreou has constant meetings regarding his political initiative, however, it becomes clear that everything will depend on the procedure for the election of the new President of the Hellenic Republic. The first Presidential ballot was also the reason his scheduled speech to Kozani, northern Greece, for the party’s 40 years, will eventually take place later. What he allegedly said to his closest associates is that whatever happens on the Presidential election front, he will try to unify the disappointed central voters and flank main opposition SYRIZA, which managed to gather the majority of PASOK’s traditional voters.