PASOK concluded last night two days of introspection during which several top officials admitted the center-left party failed to deal with the economic crisis when in government, while ex-Prime Minister George Papandreou said the Socialists would elect a new leader before the next general elections.
Papandreou addressed the two-day meeting of PASOK’s national council on Saturday and sought to defend his two-year record as Greece’s premier. “I experienced what it means to be days away from bankruptcy and not having options, what it means to try to convince the world that your country has prospects, what it means to face a conservative Europe, what it means to be alone,” he said.
The PASOK leader said a contest to elect a new leader would take place as soon as the government agrees a haircut deal with its creditors. He did not say if he plans to be a candidate in the leadership contest.
A number of PASOK officials, including Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou, called for Papandreou to state his intentions and set a specific date for the vote. Diamantopoulou was one of those who admitted that PASOK made serious mistakes in government. She said the Socialists were too willing to accept direction from Greece’s lenders. “We behaved like employees rather than politicians.”
“We were not ready as a nation or administration to confront this crisis,” said ex-minister Haris Kastanidis. Another former minister, Louka Katseli, and MP Vasso Papandreou also criticized PASOK’s record.