Pressed for time

Over the next few days, probably up until next Saturday, Costas Simitis is due to announce «the subsequent goals of the government and his proposals for the modernization of the political system.» The above announcement also includes a government reshuffle which will only be valid for 10 months – actually, eight months if you omit the two summer recesses – until the scheduled date of the next general elections. As we know, the prime minister had been obliged to announce his future interventions at the beginning of May, when he was under intense pressure from within his PASOK party to reverse its ongoing decline, which was reflected in all the opinion polls. Everything that has happened over the past two months in the governing party – the contradictory statements regarding the extent of the reshuffle, the changing faces in the government, and so on – attest to the fact that Simitis made his advance announcement to alleviate the tension then prevailing and to win some time, without having decided what exactly he was going to do and without knowing what reactions his intentions were likely to trigger within his party. Indeed, what proposals can the premier make «for the reform of our political system»? All Greeks know that Simitis succeeded Andreas Papandreou seven years ago under the banner of modernization. So, do we really believe that he will achieve whatever he has failed to over the last seven years in the eight to 10 months leading to the expiry of his second term in office?

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