OPINION

Strained relations

At the core of the problems faced by PASOK is the political behavior of the prime minister and his close aides vis-a-vis the Greek public. Since 1996 – and especially after the elections in 2000 – the «reformist» leadership has been giving the impression that it is not at all moved by the trials and tribulations the low to middle classes have had to put up with in this «new era.» Moreover, the team of political «stars» in government gives the impression that among the prerequisites of this «new era» is the good life enjoyed by a very small proportion of the population, and a comfortable, even luxurious, life for the political ruling class. But by persisting with such behavior (which even politicians themselves, such as Theodoros Pangalos, have condemned outright as unacceptable), Simitis’s team of political reformers will only succeed in maintaining their strained relations with the PASOK party’s grass roots. Of course, Simitis’s leadership has ensured that there is a majority of state-supported, middle-ranking cadres in the party’s «guiding» executive organs – who necessarily support every leadership so that they can maintain the high income and social levels in their constituencies. But this internal party majority cannot cancel out, or even limit, the discontent of the party’s grass roots with the government’s management policies. And of course, the majority of state-employed officials who are loyal to the party leadership cannot do anything to change the behavior of the party elite.