Leadership elections for Greece’s socialist Pasok party were taking place on Sunday with just one person on the ballot, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos.
More than 400,000 registered party members were eligible to vote at one of the most critical points in Greece’s political history. Party officials hoped that around 80,000 people would turn out to support his bid.
Venizelos said the vote was a new opportunity to reach out to a despondent electorate: “We are starting to talk to people and more importantly to listen to them. We need to talk realistically and responsibly like friends, like brothers,” he said.
“We need to speak the truth because our country, our homeland can only stand on its feet again when we are united in solidarity.”
Ahead of Greece’s general election in May, the Pasok party is struggling to regain it’s reputation following the collapse of the socialist government – under Prime Minister George Papandreou – last Autumn, when the EU and IMF demanded tougher austerity measures.
An opinion poll in one newspaper last week showed both the Pasok and the other major political party, New Democracy, would win just a third of the vote if elections were held now.
After the leadership vote, Venizelos is due to resign as finance minister.