Reassembling the party

PASOK is scrambling to reassemble party officials so as to assemble a battleworthy lineup in time for the elections. Some of the so-called senior ruling party cadres appear willing to contribute to that effort, although they have been shoved aside by the prime minister. According to reformist officials, the aim is to forge an alliance – even a temporary one – with PM Costas Simitis’s important in-party rivals and those medium-level figures that appeal to the Socialists’ traditional party base. The vanguard of the reformist bloc inside PASOK believes it can shape the conditions for the emergence of a «social majority,» that is a broad center-left coalition, like in the early 1980s when, under the leadership of the late Andreas Papandreou, PASOK attracted the bulk of anti-rightist forces that were willing to push for the much-hyped «change.» In order to create a center-left majority, the ruling party must summon the image of a united PASOK. The Simitis government really has no other option. In the light of Greece’s economic and social woes, the fallacy of a united PASOK spearheading some center-left front is the only meaningful strategy in the upcoming election battle. PASOK’s leadership knows that this time it will not be able to count on the truly productive social forces (as Simitis managed to leave them disenchanted after 2000). Inevitably, then, PASOK’s central force will be made up of Euro-socialist reformist liberals, representatives of the state-dependent segment of society and other leftist politicians who aspire to come off the sidelines and join a larger party. The once-snubbed officials who are now called upon to help out Simitis have enough experience to foresee what awaits PASOK in the wake of the election.