The cost of a choice

The government has consistently avoided responding, over the past few months, to calls for early elections by opposition cadres – particularly this fall. Indeed, Costas Simitis’s administration has never accepted that the state of the national economy – as well as public reactions to government policy and the need for a period of stability so that preparations for next year’s Olympic Games can be successfully completed – constitutes a logical argument for holding early elections. But Simitis made his choice last summer when he heralded – indirectly but clearly – the beginning of a pre-election campaign before PASOK’s central committee before proceeding to deny that his government was making decisions with electoral motives. He insisted that all the decisions his political opponents regarded as election-oriented were nothing more than part and parcel of the government’s current policy. «The government cannot simply abandon its duties in view of elections at the end of its four-year term,» Simitis’s reformists plead innocently. However, the current situation is unstable, something that has been anticipated by many observers. Despite the fact that the government launched a pre-election campaign of its own accord, it is in a very difficult position today – most of its decisions are being broadly viewed with suspicion, while various social groups have grabbed a rare opportunity to press for more pay and benefits.