OPINION

Obstinacy

Faced with next year’s elections, Costas Simitis is trying to energize his faithful supporters and woo that section of the electorate which, though not necessarily keen on the premier, have an interest in backing his administration at present. Having decided to lead PASOK into the coming polls, Simitis will to make every possible effort to renew his mandate, daunting as this task may be. However, as Simitis himself has repeatedly said, elections will only take place at the end of PASOK’s four-year term. This means that Simitis will continue to govern through the spring, amid a self-inflicted campaign climate. The premier is at the helm of a worn-out administration running on autopilot, without showing any signs of creativity. Worse still, most Socialist cadres appear to already have accepted electoral defeat. Although he insists upon rejecting opposition calls for early elections, Simitis is incapable of leading a productive government and has used up his remaining strength fending off opposition allegations over his sorry management of the economy, as well as fierce criticism of corruption and the lack of transparency. Amid such a climate, the leadership of the ruling party, which has been without a clear-cut political plan for a long time, is struggling to halt the burgeoning wave of deputies deserting the Socialists and overcome the defeatism that pervades the entire party mechanism. As the situation stands now, what can one possibly expect of Simitis? Indeed, how smoothly can his administration function when talk of succession is gaining intensity in the runup to the national polls? Simitis’s stubbornness to govern under the current circumstances and his determination to complete his four-year tenure is bound to worsen the economic, administrative and social problems currently plaguing the country.