Monday, 19 March 2012

Evangelos Venizelos Becomes New Leader of PASOK

Greece’s Socialists gave a strong show of support for Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos to head the party following a leadership election on Sunday.
Greek state television NET said Venizelos, who was the only candidate, garnered 85 percent support with 10 percent of the votes counted.
‘We have re-established a relationship of trust for a new start for the party,’ Venizelos said from the Socialist PASOK party offices in central Athens.

NET quoted officials as saying some 200,000 Socialist PASOK members and supporters had turned out to vote, far less than the 750,000 who turned out when former prime minister George Papandreou was elected Socialist leader in 2007.
According to party regulations, leaders are elected in a voting process open to all party members.
The 55-year-old Venizelos will take over the PASOK leadership from Papandreou, who was forced to step down as prime minister in November.
PASOK, which has been in government for more than half the time since the junta was toppled in 1974, swept to power in 2009 with almost 44 per cent of the vote under the leadership of Papandreou.
In November, the party entered into a coalition government with the conservative New Democratic party under the leadership of Prime Minister Lucas Papademos.
Venizelos, on whose shoulders the party’s hopes for victory in elections (expected in April or May) rest, will have little time to overcome the dismal popularity ratings following its two years in power.
A recent poll showed PASOK in fifth place, with 11 percent of the vote ahead of the general election.
Venizelos was appointed to the post of the country’s finance minister in June and was a key negotiator for a second, 130-billion-euro (171.3-billion-dollar) bailout deal for the country, designed to save the country from default.
(source: DPA)

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