Is Papandreou Making a Comeback?

ATHENS — Former Greek Prime Minister George A. Papandreou, the third of three generations of Papandreous to rule that country (his father, Andreas, and grandfather, Georgios, also served as prime minister), may be planning a grand political comeback three years after resigning to make way for a national unity government, the New York Times reported.

In an open letter calling for an emergency party congress to pick a new leader for PASOK, the troubled political party he once led that is part of the new coalition government, headed by New Democracy member Antonis Samaras – the current prime minister – but which is quickly losing its political relevance, the Times reported.

Some analysts think that should Papandreou emerge to head PASOK again, that Socialist party might draw support away from the coalition of the radical left SYRIZA, which leads in the national polls.

“It is far from clear, however, that Papandreou would succeed in ousting Evangelos Venizelos, who took over the party after Papandreou infuriated European Union leaders with his idea for a referendum on Greece’s bailout by international creditors,” the Times wrote.

Nick Malkoutzis of MacroPolis told the Times that “no one suspected Papandreou would try and put himself back in center stage.”

Pollster Takis Theodorikakos, the Times reported, said that although Papandreou retains a core of loyal followers, there are many Greeks who blame him for the first bailout agreement and the austerity cuts, and so, Theodorikakos predicts, even with PASOK’s dismal poll numbers at 5% under Venizelos, they might only climb as high as 10% with Papandreou back at the helm.