OPINION

A fateful departure

At the end of last May or the beginning of last June – I can’t remember when exactly – I wrote that after the end of the European Union presidency, Prime Minister Costas Simitis would have nothing more to say or do and that the best thing would be to leave the world of politics and go home. I wrote this with a declared liking for Simitis, which I had often displayed in the past. Nevertheless, this assertion provoked outrage in the prime minister’s circles, at this supposed conspiracy against him by Kathimerini. But six months later, Simitis is being obliged to leave by the ruling party itself, following a string of desperate attempts to escape from a political dead end by presenting clumsy «initiatives» and handouts. Whether he will go home or not remains to be seen, but after 30 years of active participation in politics – a consecutive eight of which have seen him in the prime minister’s seat – there is perhaps no better time for a dignified retreat, for relaxing and taking stock. When I proposed that Simitis should withdraw, he and his government were basking in the «glory» of a successful European Union presidency and the accession of Cyprus to the EU. No one doubted the successful outcome of either undertaking. But despite this, the government’s image remained very negative, something Simitis indirectly acknowledged when he embarked on his July initiatives, which were intended to improve matters but turned out to lack any substance…