It?s hard to watch George Papandreou, Greece?s prime minister until last week being humiliated, even if he eventually managed to avoid the suicidal solution of appointing Parliament Speaker Filippos Petsalnikos as leader of the interim administration.
Now that Lucas Papademos, a former senior European Central Bank official, has taken over as head of Greece?s crisis coalition government, Papandreou can do one of two things. One option would be to step down as leader of the Socialist party and bow out of the domestic political scene. He could do so while portraying himself as a victim of the markets or outside interests, or even claim that he did his best under the financial conditions and growing social turmoil.
Those who know him well say that Papandreou would feel happier and more relieved if 2012 found him teaching at a Swiss or American university.
Alternatively, the former prime minister could allow himself to be manipulated by PASOK?s apparatchiks who effectively ran the country behind closed doors during the previous weeks. These people have already done Papandreou?s image a great deal of damage. His reckless handling of the situation ahead of his eventual resignation, his inexcusable reluctance in the negotiations between the country?s party leaders to select a prime minister for the transit administration, his unconvincing proposal to recruit Petsalnikos as interim premier, and the ultimate effort to torpedo Papademos?s appointment represent a black spot in Greece?s political history.
The problem is that some people within PASOK are trying to convince Papandreou to stay on as leader of the Socialist party — and perhaps also to stand as a candidate in the coming parliamentary elections. The terms that were reportedly set for Papademos concerning the number and identity of PASOK cadres in the interim administration demonstrate that some inside the party continue to play a relentless power game with their eyes fixed on the day after — regardless of society?s desires and needs.
They are the same people that destroyed Papandreou as prime minister by picking all the wrong figures and opposing the requisite measures earlier in his tenure.
Now they are threatening to destroy him again. They will reassure him about his political future; then they will bring the party under their control with a candidate of their preference and, when the job is done, it will be too late for him.
Unfortunately, the final days of a leader or government are always uncomfortable and hard. It is no coincidence that Papandreou did away with any officials who tried to warn him about the situation or insisted that the game was really over.
However by pushing the self-destruct button, he did a service to the nation. Everybody saw the abyss and everybody got scared. Greek politics is entering a ?big bang? state. However, a large portion of PASOK?s apparatchiks are trying to unmake this contribution. They are effectively undermining the Papademos project and insisting on putting their own survival before the will of the people.
It would be very paradoxical if Papandreou were to be the man to put up a fight for a finished, corrupt system of power which he inherited but vowed to radically change.
The so-called ?deep PASOK? has a very unique way of operating as a closed, survival-first power system. Like the legendary Cronus, the Socialists will not hesitate to eat their children, if they have to. Even if one of them happens to be the child of their founder.