NEWS

‘A party of national responsibility’

It is said that you are competing with the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA). By acting as a party of protest, will you inspire the trust needed to get a mandate to rule? PASOK has never acted as party of protest. We are a party of power, of national responsibility. The government does not act responsibly. We are responding to the justified anxiety and anger of the public. Greece is losing the battle in everything, from the economy to culture. How can your policies win over the so-called middle ground? We believe in a broad union of the Greek people that will give the country new self-confidence. The government is out of touch with the real problems of the country, the most important of which is the pressure on the middle class who are being impoverished by the government’s neoconservative policies. People who were living comfortably a few years ago are seeing their incomes shrinking, their dreams shattered and their social status downgraded. And if things don’t change, their children will be worse off. They will be the first generation in postwar Greece to experience that. Our policies appeal to them. What is needed is a government that can unite the strong and weak strata in society, to allow the former, who feel trapped by an obsolete state, to take initiatives, and give support and security to the latter, who feel abandoned. You invited SYRIZA to cooperate and suggested forming a joint committee, but got no response. Will you take further initiatives? Unfortunately, SYRIZA is caught up in the old mentality of opposing fronts, and it is drifting into political complacency. I hope they get over it soon and meet us on the path to the broadest possible democracy and progressive cooperation. If SYRIZA persists in its negative approach, what prospect of stability can PASOK offer, given the widening gap between it and New Democracy? If you did not win a clear majority, would you consider a grand coalition? One-party government PASOK is fighting to win a majority in Parliament and give the country a strong stable government. We have never ruled out cooperation, before or after the elections, but our aim is a one-party government. In any case, the idea of a grand coalition is out of touch with Greek political reality. It was a PASOK government that established the policy of privatization, with positive results for the economy. Has your party changed tack? Is it now against that policy? First, do we want tools in key sectors such as telecommunications and energy? Second, there are areas there the state is inefficient, but the government of the day must implement meritocratic criteria and keep telecoms and power utilities profitable. Third, there is no plan for reform. Certain private interests are served by the government and the Economy Ministry’s need for revenue. Is it true that in government you would try to cancel contracts you have not approved, such as Deutsche Telekom’s contract for OTE and foreign firms’ contracts for ports? Our government will oppose any attempt to sell off public property. On the day after the elections, anyone who has bought through non-transparent processes will find themselves up against the new government of change, the PASOK government. We want policies that foster investment, but which are conducted transparently and in the public interest.