Government moves make few ripples

Political initiatives taken by Simitis last July after the end of Greece’s six-month presidency of the European Union, replacing Costas Laliotis as party general secretary with Michalis Chrysochoidis, the mini-reshuffle and the restructuring of the Executive Bureau have not had a major effect on voters. Nearly half of those polled felt that Laliotis’s replacement neither improved nor worsened their view of PASOK, and over half gave similar replies regarding the reshuffle and the Executive Bureau changes. PASOK voters took a more positive view of these changes, with 48.2 approving Laliotis’s ouster and only 12 percent saying their view of PASOK had deteriorated. Only 7.7 percent of PASOK voters took a dim view of the reshuffle, with 45.4 percent in favor. Another interesting conclusion concerns the government’s recent economic handouts. Although the vast majority are aware of them, they appear to have had little effect on voters’ intentions. Only 18.2 percent of voters said the package of economic measures would affect their vote (if elections were held next Sunday), 6.2 percent «definitely» and 12 percent «probably.» On the other hand, 70.5 percent said it would «probably» (17.6 percent) or «definitely» (52.9 percent) not affect their choice. Conclusions regarding the effect of the Social Charter are similarly disappointing for the government, with 68.2 percent claiming it would not affect their vote, against only 14.2 percent saying it would, either «probably» or «definitely.» Public opinion on the economic handouts is largely of the view that they were «announced purely for campaign purposes,» with only 30.4 percent continuing to believe that PASOK is a socialist government that believes in social justice.