NEWS

‘Need to highlight differences between parties at this stage’

PASOK president George Papandreou, responding in this interview with Kathimerini to criticism of his attacks against the New Democracy party over the past few days, promises to aim for a «maximum post-electoral consensus,» but explained that at this stage there was a need to highlight the differences between the parties and the «effects of a change in government without guarantees of stability or an understanding of the needs of the new age.» As for the problem of entangled interests, Papandreou said what was important was not to «freeze the market, but to force it to function transparently.» Meanwhile, the PASOK leader denied he had received excessive exposure on the major television stations. It has been said that your election by the base is only the first step in a process of deeper changes within PASOK. What is the final goal? It is claimed that you have not made your choice clear; whether a party closer to European social democratic parties or to the US Democratic Party. We are in Europe, at the front line of countries implementing the true unification of this historic continent, within new political and social conditions. Each country is facing the same challenges in the future in a different way. It is not my intention to set up a party mechanism, but to activate the people’s relationship with politics, to formulate conditions for more political and social cohesion. Without that, there is neither fast-track economic growth nor an effective functioning of democracy. In Greece, we will rise to the challenge of the future. Transplanted political experience is rarely successful. ND has criticized the succession process followed in PASOK. It is said that (Prime Minister Costas) Simitis handed you the «leadership ring.» How could it have been possible for other leading cadres to take part in the leadership race just two months before the elections after the private meeting you had with the prime minister? There was no ring, but a decision on the part of the prime minister to activate the process for his succession, first in PASOK and then in the government, if the democratic camp is successful on March 7, as I predict it will be. I think that until the prime minister announced his intentions, I did not carry out any «internal election campaign,» nor was it my intention to establish a support mechanism. All the cadres had precisely the same opportunities as I did and I deeply appreciate the fact that distinguished people, who may have had leadership ambitions, stood by me from the outset, in the belief that under the emerging conditions and political environment, PASOK’s chances of governing again would be better with myself as leader. Where ND is seeing fingers and rings, there is the pragmatism of a dynamic camp that evaluated events and decided to move ahead.