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Greek minister quits to run for party leadership

ATHENS, Greece (AP) – The Greek minister responsible for the country’s police, Christos Papoutsis, has resigned from the country’s coalition government to run for the leadership of the socialist party.

Papoutsis has sent a letter to Prime Minister Lucas Papademos informing him of his decision, an announcement on the ministry’s website says.

His ministry oversees Greece’s security forces _ police and the coast guard _ as well as the fire brigade.

Papoutsis, 58, will represent the traditionalist wing of the socialist party in the election. Vice-premier and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos is the favorite to win.

Papoutsis is a former leader of the socialist youth in the late 70s and early 80s and a European Commissioner for Energy, Trade and Tourism from 1995-99. He was also Greece’s Merchant Marine minister from 1999-2001.

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