Riding on hope

Last week I described Costas Simitis’s anticipated move to hand over the reigns of ruling PASOK to George Papandreou ahead of forthcoming elections as a kind of conjuring act or sleight of hand. Well, the outgoing prime minister, in his revelation last week of the two pillars of his plan – that is dual leadership and on-time elections – has provided us with a vivid example of such conjuring. Indeed, according to the dictionary, he is attempting «a deceptive ploy, based on swift and cunning moves aimed at defrauding the public regarding the true picture.» The staging of elections at the beginning of March instead of May and the implementation of this diarchy (with Simitis in the role of caretaker prime minister and Papandreou as leader of PASOK) – which government officials had been strenuously denying until recently – provide the only hope for this sleight of hand to work. George Papandreou, whom we expect to be officially sworn in as PASOK chief by the beginning of next month with the mandate to take over as prime minister in the event of PASOK’s election victory, has neither the time nor the authority to draft and make public a government program. In view of this, whatever program ends up being announced is unlikely to have had his own approval nor that of the revamped executive office on which he will rely, after the elections, for the program’s implementation.

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