Crying in the Jaguar

In two separate newspaper interviews recently, the well-known politicians Theodoros Pangalos (PASOK) and Petros Kounalakis (Synaspismos) said they disagree with the official party line. Their reactions, however, differ. «Some are making zealous efforts to force me out of PASOK, but I won’t go,» former foreign minister Pangalos said, adding that he is in «extreme isolation» within the Socialists. Kounalakis, on the other hand, said that he «feels alienated» within Synaspismos Left Coalition, as «it did not make the big overture toward PASOK.» He said he will «leave the party amicably.» Despite his personal criticism of party leader Costas Simitis and of a considerable cross section of party cadres, Pangalos remains clinging tenaciously onto PASOK. Despite his 45-year membership in various leftist parties, Kounalakis, on the other hand, has decided to make a voluntary exit. Indeed, what are the different motives of the two politicians? Who is most consistent with his own principles? When a cadre is disaffected or disagrees with his party, should he go or stay to «make a fight from within?» Who is right, Pangalos or Kounalakis? In some way, both of them are. Still, Pangalos used to be in the Left before making a timely leap to a major party, meaning that back then he did not feel that he should «fight from within» as he purports to be doing now. For his part, although somewhat belated, Kounalakis is leaving Synaspismos for the same reason. He is disappointed because his party won’t make any «big overture» to the ruling party, a move that would open the door to power for Synaspismos. The seemingly contradictory but, in essence, tantamount stances by the two politicians reminds one of the words of the French novelist Francoise Sagan, who once observed: «Money may not buy happiness but I’d rather cry in a Jaguar than on a bus.»

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