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Greece’s Venizelos Says His Pasok Party to Defy Slump in Polls

Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said his socialist Pasok party, which is preparing to elect a new leader March 18, will defy polls showing a slump in support.

“Our goal is victory, Pasok as the first party, upsetting the polls,” he said today in a speech shown on state-run NET TV.

Pasok will vote for a leader to replace former Prime Minister George Papandreou and there has been wide speculation that Venizelos will run. He didn’t say today whether he will be a candidate. Greece is due to hold national elections in late April or early May.

Greece convinced private investors to forgive more than 100 billion euros ($131 billion) of debt, opening the way for a second bailout program worth 130 billion euros. Venizelos said his party had managed the greatest crisis in Greece since its civil war.

“Now the key to a return to a growth trajectory is in the hands of the Greeks,” Venizelos said.

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