A spent force

The government’s first reflex against criticism, whether it comes from members of Parliament or from the media, has made a very bad impression. One is struck by the assertive, combative style and blind fanaticism of certain PASOK cadres as well as by the premier’s political demeanor, which is a far cry from his one-time «reformist» image. Furthermore, one is astonished at the paucity of the arguments invoked by the ruling elite in its attempt to repel charges of mistakes, delays, failures and extreme lenience toward cases of political and business entanglement. However, the desperate position in which the Socialist government finds itself can explain the sad reactions by senior Socialist officials. Costas Simitis must now realize that the conventional economic model pursued in the post-EMU period has failed him. Most painfully, the premier must also have realized that both he and his aides have exhausted their potential and that there is nothing they can do to improve things. They are a spent force, and this truth lies at the heart of every political, economic and social problem besetting Greece today. Can the Socialist administration improve its performance? It’s impossible to be upbeat on this one. The current management of PASOK is the only possible management given the circumstances. If, for example, Greece has lost 160 billion drachmas (470 million euros) from the Second Community Support Framework (CSFII) and has only absorbed 22 percent of funds from CSFIII, this is because the political staff in charge of this very important policy area are simply not capable of doing any better than that. Simitis must be in despair, especially when he has to deny the shortcomings and failures that he is the first to confront.

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