ATHENS – Former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou says he will seek the leadership of the once-powerful Socialist party founded by his father, the late politician Andreas Papandreou, in an effort to revive its popularity that plummeted during a recent financial crisis.
“I have decided to run for the leadership of the movement and I will contribute with all my strength to make it strong again,” Papandreou, 69, said late Wednesday in a message recorded for television.
“The citizens and the country need a new change and the democratic movement must grow again.”
Papandreou served as prime minister for just over two years in 2009-2011, stepping down after proposing a referendum on the terms of an international bailout. Creditors shot down the idea, and Papandreou quit to make way for a caretaker government and new elections.
His father founded the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement, Pasok, which was a dominant force in Greek politics for three decades but sank to fourth and later third place in parliament during successive bailouts that ended in 2018.
Papandreou’s father Andreas and grandfather George also served as prime ministers in liberal and Socialist governments.
Family ties still hold powerful influence in Greek politics. The current prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is the son of a prominent conservative politician, Constantine Mitsotakis, who served as prime minister in the early 1990s.
Pasok, now part of a center-left umbrella party, the Movement for Change, will hold a leadership election in early December, with Papandreou’s decision to run raising the number of declared candidates to seven.