PASOK spokesman quits, backs Venizelos

Panos Beglitis resigned from his post as spokesman for Socialist PASOK on Thursday and said that he would be backing Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos in an upcoming contest for the party leadership.

Speaking to Real FM radio station, Beglitis said that he had asked PASOK leader and former premier George Papandreou to relieve him of his duties as spokesperson, saying he believed it “would not be ethical, on a political and personal level, for me to play the role of the dexterously independent observer at such a time.” The former defense minister added that he believed Venizelos was the “only choice” in the leadership contest, noting however that he held Christos Papoutsis, the former citizens’ protection minister who is also in the race, in high esteem.

Venizelos has not explicitly declared his candidacy for the leadership contest yet but several ministers have backed him and sources told Kathimerini that Venizelos has garnered the support of more than half of PASOK’s political council, collecting more than 200 signatures. Papoutsis is said to have collected 94 signatures making it unlikely that a third candidate will run. 

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