OPINION

Why reshuffle?

What is the political reasoning behind the government reshuffle? And what was the aim of PASOK’s last conference – in October 2001 – which elected a new party secretary, new executives, and heralded a «new beginning»? If PASOK’s leadership has failed to carry out restructuring or produce new policies since then, why should it do so now? Who should we expect to do so now? Are we to believe that Prime Minister Costas Simitis is concealing a significant policy plan which he is intending to surprise us with at the end of his second four-year term? Even after his re-election in spring 2000, Simitis didn’t want to attempt to restructure his government or shape a new policy. He acted exactly as he did in 1996: marginalizing every perceived voice of inner-party dissent and every member of PASOK’s «old guard,» and continuing with an uninspired administration of his government with the help of a few trusted aides. So, it is hardly surprising that he failed. If the relative timidity of PASOK’s new leader in 1996 could be attributed to some sort of insecurity – he was, after all, succeeding Andreas Papandreou – there was no justification when he clinched a new term in 2000. Now the situation in the ruling party has stabilized. Simitis’s reformists have failed to achieve anything more than a day-to-day management of domestic affairs. And, worst of all, they have failed on a moral level, having taken advantage of their positions to forge unwarranted links with the business world.