Lines of defense

The most prudent of Costas Simitis’s reformists, before giving in to disillusionment, have prepared their «lines of defense» in preparation for the pre-election battle that awaits them. The release of MRB opinion polls in December is almost an institution, and December is generally a month in which such surveys of public opinion are published in sight of the year’s end, and this year also the upcoming elections. The ruling party evidently hoped that the public relations «counterattack» it had launched after Greece concluded its term at the European Union presidency, and the shift in the prime minister’s attention back to domestic affairs – along with a series of proudly announced «handouts» and a «charter for real convergence» – would have helped improve the negative climate for the government. There was hope, of course, that these efforts would decrease the gap between the ruling party and opposition New Democracy in opinion polls. But things did not turn out as planned. After a brief stabilization of ND’s lead and an apparent improvement in Simitis’s image as the most competent candidate for prime minister, studies showed the opposition party’s appeal to be broadening among the electorate – something which has prompted PASOK’s leadership and spin doctors to seriously reconsider their tactics.