NEWS

Party cadres desert Simitis’s ship

In addition to the government’s economic woes, the situation within the ruling party’s is also far from ideal. Conspiracy theories are rife within its ranks as well, although Simitis pretends not to be aware of them. Senior members of the party, who see themselves as its permanent and natural leaders that are simply allowing Simitis to govern, have been in constant consultation with cadres, ministers and parliamentary deputies, evaluating people in order to choose the best and the brightest, literally setting up a new leadership group which they believe will sooner or later succeed Simitis. They have even organized meetings with the most ambitious in order to break the ice and lay the foundations for future cooperation. They have also been arranging transfers of cadres. The «reformist» faction has literally been decimated. Most have gone over to George Papandreou. Those who were until recently fanatical supporters of Simitis, such as Anna Diamantopoulou, Giorgos Floridis, Christos Pachtas and others have already gone over. Among active politicians still faithful to Simitis are Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, Transport Minister Christos Verelis, who has other ambitions, Labor Minister Dimitris Reppas, Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, although he is also eager to join the race for the succession, Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis, who also has his own agenda, and Press Minister Christos Protopappas, who is seeking a dignified transfer elsewhere. The rest, ranging from Costas Laliotis to Akis Tsochadzopoulos, Vasso Papandreou, Costas Skandalidis and Evangelos Venizelos, are waiting on the sidelines and smiling to themselves, having almost decided to go over to the opposition, and preparing for the time to come.