Warring factions divide Pasok
Friday 28 June 1996
Less than 24 hours after Andreas Papandreou's mortal remains were laid to rest, the heirs to his socialist movement, Pasok, were at each other's throats yesterday as a congress called to elect a new party leader degenerated into a shouting match between supporters of the rival candidates.
Costas Simitis, the man who took over as prime minister of Greece six months ago, almost lost control of the packed congress hall during his speech because of an unfortunate turn of phrase about Mr Papandreou's autocratic leadership style. Supporters of Akis Tsochadzopoulos, his chief rival for the party leadership, erupted in fury over what they saw as an attack on their dead hero and drowned out Mr Simitis with chants of "Andreas, you live! You lead us!"
Mr Simitis's own supporters then began shouting back the party slogan, "Pasok is here, united and strong", creating pandemonium in the cavernous hall inside the Olympic Stadium in Athens. Mr Simitis only regained the attention of the 5,000 delegates with a dramatic challenge: vote for me as party leader, he said, or I will resign as prime minister.
Resignation would provoke a fratricidal search for a successor, plunging Greece into political chaos and possibly precipitating early elections.
Before yesterday's drama, the entourage which stood by Mr Papandreou during his final illness had been lobbying for a compromise whereby Pasok's traditionalist wing, led by Mr Tsochadzopoulos, could come to a power- sharing agreement with Mr Simitis and his modernising faction.
The events of yesterday afternoon made clear that it will be warfare from here on, and that whoever wins the leadership will find it near impossible to unite the party. Before Mr Papandreou's death last Sunday, Mr Simitis was tipped to win if only because it made sense to give his government the political clout it needs to follow an energetic policy programme and prepare for elections some time in the next year.
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Watch a man race the Circle line and win
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Grandmas keep accidentally tagging themselves as Grandmaster Flash on Facebook
Islamic State: Pope is 'being targeted by Isis', Iraqi ambassador to the Holy See warns
Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton nude pictures exhibition cancelled after artist concedes photos were 'stolen property'
Scotland independence: A nation divided against itself: Brown says SNP are liars. Darling joins in. Salmond fights back
John Travolta addresses former pilot's gay romance allegations publicly for the first time
Richard III: Two years after his body was found scientists discover how he died
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...
£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...