Watching where PASOK may go

Andreas Loverdos?s decision to join Evangelos Venizelos?s camp demonstrates political prudence. PASOK is not expected to gather the 25 percent of the vote earned during the 1977 elections, while polls show that the party established by Andreas Papandreou is fighting to maintain second place. Consequently, PASOK?s new leader will have to manage a crushing defeat.

Venizelos seems undeterred by any inhibition regarding this loss; his political greed was illustrated in the past and was the principal reason why he lost the PASOK leadership battle in 2007 to George Papandreou, despite the generous support shown to him by the majority of the local media, former Prime Minister Costas Simitis and the party?s reformists.

We will observe the succession process, but the point is not who the new PASOK leader will be or what the future of this singular party holds. Essentially, PASOK became a new version of EAM for the post-dictatorship years. Its target, of course, was not German occupying forces, but the Right, and during this ?holy? war the country was ravaged in a most horrific way. In the end, PASOK emerged as the party that brought the country under the demands of Germany?s Angela Merkel.

Had PASOK disintegrated a decade ago, it would have been possible for the party to remain in the minds of some Greeks as the populist party that rose from obscurity and socially reinstated the have-nots.

What is unfortunate for the political party is that it stayed in power much longer than it needed in order to maintain its reputation for the future because in the last two years, the last political scion of the Papandreou family destroyed the myth of a compassionate PASOK.

Venizelos believes that as PASOK leader he will prevent more voters from leaving the party by arguing that he saved the country by negotiating for the haircut of Greek bonds by 70 percent or more, and by securing loans that will be used for primarily paying off of a debt, which this time round, will be tied to real guarantees. As finance minister, Venizelos has an innovative perception of the interests of Greek people, whose incomes and properties are losing their value, while unemployment is hitting one million.

The policies adopted by PASOK in the last two years will probably lead the extreme left to reach 30 percent, might lead to a social explosion and Andreas Papandreou?s party might contribute to the creation of a new EAM, which this time round, will be out of control.