The huge preponderance of Prime Minister Costas Simitis’s choices in the composition of PASOK’s new Executive Bureau was an impressive fact that sent a signal to critics within the Socialist party. The total compliance by the members of the Socialists’ Executive Bureau with the prime minister’s preferences conveys the impression that the ability of party dissenters to obstruct the implementation of government policy has declined, if not completely vanished. The solidarity of PASOK’s supreme executive body, even on the vexing issue of electing figures, clearly foreshadows what will happen in today’s reshuffle. At the present moment, there are no forces inside PASOK which can dictate the prime minister’s decisions. Simitis is now able to make decisions freely and shape the balance of power inside the ruling party. This will most likely be reflected in the new government’s makeup. It remains to be seen if the extremely favorable conditions which emerged out of the recent party congress will translate into improved government performance. The accumulated delays in projects are huge and have put a severe economic strain on the public purse. The citizens are weary of constant excuses that invoke the adverse impact of PASOK’s dissenters as the sole reason for government tardiness or inertia. It is Simitis’s exclusive responsibility to put his own party in order so that he can implement government policies unhindered. In any case, it was an auspicious moment for Simitis when he managed to gain control over his party at a time when the global environment is highly volatile and ruled by uncertainty. More than ever, Simitis cannot afford to waste time or opportunities. No delay or postponement will be tolerated. Until recently, it was normal to refer to the great effort that the government has to make in order to prepare the country for the challenges of the eurozone. The economic downturn and worldwide insecurity makes the government’s task even more difficult.

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