NEWS

‘I tipped the future chairman last January’

Denying that ND had been caught napping by the developments in PASOK, Souflias says he tipped Papandreou as leader last year. Many people say PASOK’s change of leadership caught you napping. I want to remind you of three events. First, in a written report from the political planning office of ND, of which I am in charge, to ND leader Costas Karamanlis in January 2003, I pointed out the likelihood of PASOK going to the elections under the leadership of Papandreou. Second, in April 2003, I said in an interview that PASOK was likely to go to the polls under another leader, specifically Papandreou. Third, before Simitis himself clarified matters, the government spokesman and all of PASOK criticized ND and the right-wing press, saying that they were behind the succession scenarios in PASOK. They can’t accuse us one day of making up Simitis’s succession scenarios and the next day act surprised that it all came true. What actually happened is that ND avoided commenting on the scenarios and the leaks; it observed developments attentively; and it adopted an official stance when Simitis decided to clear up the fog he himself had created. We were prepared for this scenario, and even the PR storm that accompanied it was more or less expected. And this shows how right ND is when it talks about a regime. This is the reaction of a regime, a whole power system, which feels the ground falling away from beneath its feet. Since you foresaw it, what did you do to deal with it? ND insists on the substance of politics, on dealing with problems. The role of ND is not to attempt some kind of communication competition, to dramatize the political debate even more than PASOK so as to win over fragments of the television audience. If ND did that it wouldn’t be ND; it wouldn’t be the force that is going to change the country. ND is not an advertising company. Its role is to bring the discussion back to issues of substance, to impose a genuine electoral agenda, and to remind the public that the decision on March 7 involves more than television shows; it involves whether their lives and the lives of their children will change. So what is being decided by the elections? The real dilemma of the elections is whether we will go forward – with new policies, new dynamism and new prospects – or whether we will stay with the same corrupt people, the same failed policies, the same negative outcomes for the progress of the country and the life of its citizens. It’s so simple but so important. Will we move ahead or will we stay the same? Greeks deserve new policies. The day after the elections, the implementation of our platform will give the country a new start. It will lead to a dynamic and just society, a Greece for all Greeks. And it will make the public sure of their personal future and our collective progress.