Monday, 12 March 2012

Venizelos Will Run Unopposed for the Leadership of the Socialists

Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos will run unopposed for the leadership of the Socialists, party officials said on Sunday, as the political focus shifts towards a parliamentary election now that Athens has secured a bond swap deal.
Venizelos, 55, won the backing of all the Socialist PASOK party’s heavy hitters and looks a certainty to become leader in an internal ballot on March 18.
However, winning the parliamentary election, penciled in for late April or early May, will be far tougher with all opinion polls showing PASOK badly trailing the conservative New Democracy party.

“Our country is at a crucial juncture and as a result a very large number of PASOK officials have supported my candidacy,” Venizelos told a party conference at which his only potential rival, former minister and EU commissioner, Christos Papoutsis, dropped out after failing to secure sufficient backing.
A pensioner on crutches hurled yogurt at Venizelos during the conference as a reminder of the unpopularity of austerity measures he has overseen in 9 months as finance minister.
The Greek media is speculating that Venizelos will soon quit as finance minister to focus on leadership. The constitutional-expert-turned politician, who is known for his public speaking and sharp intellect, has refused to comment on the reports.
(source: Reuters)

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