OPINION

A political swan song

?he Papandreou family has always had a penchant for causing a stir, and George Papandreou, the third prime minister to emerge from this dynasty in the post-World War II era, confirmed this at Wednesday?s meeting of PASOK?s political council.

His proposal to remain at the helm of the Socialist party for at least another six months and for someone else to be named — by a process which remains unknown — as the party?s candidate for general elections is certainly very well imagined, if not well thought out. With this proposal, he has thrown the party into complete confusion and contributed to the pace of its disintegration.

Papandreou has every right to treat PASOK like his rightful inheritance. It is a creation of his father?s and after many, though unfortunate, transmutations it has lost its raison d?etre. The policies adopted over the past two years by the outgoing president of PASOK and his associates, many of whom remain in the unity government under Lucas Papademos, are pushing the economically weaker members of society to penury, crushing the middle class and sinking the country in a long-drawn recession. The public?s support of this peculiar political party has shrunk dramatically.

To take a small side trip into recent history, let us cast our minds back to the invigorating effect it had on the cohesion of the conservatives when Costas Karamanlis promptly stepped down from the leadership of New Democracy following his electoral defeat in 2009, a move that resulted in what was then the main opposition party now being almost a certain winner at the next general election.

Papandreou also had the brilliantly revolutionary idea to lash out against what he called certain representatives of the ?Greek establishment,? by suggesting that he was targeted by the Lambrakis media group because he refused to agree to a loan being issued to the company by the National Bank of Greece if it did not meet certain requirements. He also suggested that the merger between National Bank and Alpha was compromised by certain interests. In short, he tried to give the impression that he was a victim of intricate ties between vested interests. He is neither the first prime minister nor the first Papandreou to make such claims.

Papandreou believed that by saying such things to the political council of PASOK he could topple the system that undermined him, when, in fact, his speech was nothing more than a teenage sob of heartbreak, the cry of a man ousted from the power that he so dearly craves.