The recent opinion polls had no surprise in store. They only reflected public disaffection with the ruling Socialist party, which seems unable to deal with people’s everyday problems. Given PASOK’s failure, how could the majority of the public have praise for this government? How could people ignore the fact that employees, and many employers, are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet while the government’s «reformists» are deferring the positive impact of their economic and social policies to some time in the future? Opinion polls are a mirror of the grim reality – and this is visible to all well brought-up reformists who still have their wits about them. Even they can see that things have turned really sour for the ruling Socialists and that reality has nothing to do with what Simitis sees and describes through his rose-tinted lenses. Some of PM Costas Simitis’s close aides insist that the government could restore its tarnished image by taking some action to improve government performance. But it’s hard to see how the government can wake up from a three-year lull and, as if by magic, solve all the problems that are now plaguing the economy, public administration, education, the national health system and, in general, all the sectors that shape people’s everyday lives. However, it cannot correct all of them in a few months. Thus those who recommend measures that would help reverse the climate do not have genuine projects in mind. Rather, they are suggesting public relations trickery that could convey the impression that things are getting better. The paramount concern of the Simitis administration is how to avoid defeat in the coming elections. As a result, the Socialists are examining ways that could help them con a crucial section of the public.

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