NEWS

Radicalizing platform on environment and social justice

PASOK and its election platform did not gain the electorate’s approval. What changes do you plan to make and along what lines? It’s true that we didn’t manage to put our platform across well. We went to the elections on short notice and in circumstances we all want to forget, which made the scene as murky as the air in the fire-ravaged areas. We didn’t always present an organized opposition. But how can you do that to a government that plays with institutions, manages serious issues, such as constitutional and educational reforms, as a PR exercise, starts one scandal after another and cannot even protect the lives of its citizens from a fire? Our position needs to be radicalized along the lines of environmental policy, the green economy, sustainable development and especially social justice. It must also become more radical in terms of major changes to those aspects of our political system that discredit it, make it less representative, trample on public opinion, lead to corruption, entangled interests and deter participation in civil society. Before the elections you emphasized support for the weaker members of society and the social state. Will you continue along those lines or can we expect a shift to subjects such as development and reform? Development and reform cannot be achieved without an alliance of upcoming social forces and the weaker members of society, or without boosting the social state that gives them the security to be creative and productive. Only a right-wing government that handles power by managing profiteering can nurture the illusion of development that marginalizes the weak, dislocates the social state, produces injustice and eventually undermines the country’s human potential. In 2004, you seemed ready to support changes in areas such as education and transparency. Now with the social insurance issue, will you do the same or is there any room for consensus with the government in any area? Can you tell me what consensus there can be with a government that does not assume is responsibilities, does not state its position, does not learn from its mistakes, covers up its scandals, refuses to collaborate transparently and starts a new term in office by voting in legislation that abolishes transparency in appointments and institutionalizes bribery? Learning from past After the elections you did indeed make a brave self-criticism. What would you say to PASOK voters and the public in general to convince them you won’t make the same mistakes again? Repeating my mistakes would mean I don’t honor the new mandate I am seeking. Either we create a new, updated, creative and radical PASOK, or we will sink into morass. We will create a victorious PASOK because it will have a clear ideology and platform, effective organization and reliable officials. Before and after the elections much was said and written about your relations with Costas Simitis. Do you think the former premier intervened, even indirectly, in procedures after the September 16 elections? Costas Simitis is part of the history of PASOK and of Greece. I hope he will be present in the new era that starts on November 12. You also accused certain interests of trying to manipulate developments in PASOK. Why haven’t you named them and why didn’t you say this over the past three years? Evangelos Venizelos has hinted that you were favored by the same interests in 2004 and thus won the leadership unopposed. If I had won the leadership as the favorite of those interests I would not have introduced democratic procedures allowing anyone to try for the leadership. As for naming the interests, in a country where we all know everyone and what is going on, I think that would be an unnecessary, petty partisan act. What counts is protecting democracy here and internationally from the control of money and extra-parliamentary forces that undermine the article in the constitution whereby power comes from the people and is exercised on behalf of the nation. You say that, it re-elected, you would lead PASOK in a more collective way than in the past three years. Can you be more specific? It will be a more open and democratic party, from a collective, strong and effective political center which inspires the people’s confidence, plans for its future and gives cohesion and prospects to its social alliances.