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Europe, explained

Evangelos Venizelos is a glutton for punishment. As Greece's finance minister when the the debt crisis exploded last summer he was involved in the intense, soul-shredding negotations that led his country, the EU and the global economy to the edge of the abyss.

His boss, former Prime Minister George Papndreou, resigned under the strain. Venizelos was briefly hospitalized with stress.

Today he resigned as finance minister but he is not going on vacation. He is taking over from Papandreou as leader of the socialist party, PASOK.

It is likely to be a thankless task. Elections are due in late April or early May. Pasok is currently fifth in public opinion polls, more than 14 points behind its traditional rival for power, the right-wing New Democracy party.


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