No substance

What is new about PASOK’s plans is not the introduction of a dual leadership structure – a structure which is unusual for Greek politics – but the complete absence of political substance. Everything seems to be in the service of the government’s communication aims. George Papandreou, who is widely seen as a prime minister-in-waiting, has held various ministerial posts in the Socialist governments for nearly two decades. This also makes him responsible for the government’s deeds – the successes, as well as the darkest aspects of the Simitis governments. Despite the above, Papandreou is being launched as a «fresh and untainted» politician – who, nevertheless, sees no need to articulate a political discourse that would distance himself from the murkiest aspects of PASOK’s governments. Papandreou’s stance is perfectly understandable in light of the need to sustain the equilibrium inside the ruling party. At the same time, however, it highlights the limits of the wager, which is thereby reduced to a mere reshuffle of Socialist cadres with the sole aim of prolonging their grip on the levers of power. Such an attempt may, of course, be in the interest of those who are in power and of the vested interests that benefit from aligning with them, but it leaves the majority of the Greek people unmoved – or, at least, it does not move them enough to affect their electoral preferences. We do not know whether PASOK has the ability to purge itself of corruption following the extensive harm caused by its long stay in power. However, we can be sure that the nascent pattern, with two people at the helm of PASOK, has nothing to do with shaking off corruption or making a radical political change. Through the proposed structure, PASOK is asking the Greek people to reward the achievements of the Simitis government and to approve its policies. This is where the substance lies. Of course, it has already become blatantly clear that the vested interests that have supported the Simitis governments (also using the media and other means of influence), will attempt to distort reality and present the recycling of PASOK’s leading group as a «revival,» a «peaceful revolution» and other bogus descriptions. But it is doubtful whether they shall succeed in bamboozling the public.

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