OPINION

Looking for reasons

What was the actual reason or political disagreement behind the dispute which caused Prime Minister Costas Simitis to essentially oust Costas Laliotis from the government (he offered him the post of agriculture minister, knowing Laliotis would refuse it) and from his position at the helm of the party as general secretary? It should not be forgotten that Simitis owes his victory of the party leadership in 1996 to Laliotis’s dynamic intervention at a crucial moment, that Laliotis was responsible for clinching two election victories for Simitis, and that he wielded a huge influence over the ideology of PASOK. So, what caused the rift and led one to call for the other’s dismissal? If there had been no positive «chemistry» between them, the fallout would have caused less of a stir. Many people are not able to work together due to the absence of such chemistry. But when the unity of an entire political party is threatened due to personal reasons, there is not just an absence of chemistry but a democratic deficit. The strangest thing is that no party executive who disagreed with Simitis, not even Laliotis himself, contested the premier’s decision, which would have thrown light on the reasons behind the rift. Instead most accepted the move with a sardonic smile, as if to say, «He is responsible now and will be judged by the outcome» – as if they already know what that will be.