Dual leadership won’t work

Costas Simitis and George Papandreou – who, without the blessing of PASOK’s cadres, have decided together and are acting together in this historic deal – still have some things to settle between them. Subsequently they must inform the public of each’s competences and powers both before and after the elections. The blatant disagreement between the two men on the issue of private universities yesterday is crucial, not only because of the subject matter but also because it marked Papandreou’s first attempt to articulate a distinct political rhetoric as a «vehicle for change within PASOK.» However, not only did Simitis weaken his political position, but in his address to PASOK’s candidates for Parliament yesterday he clarified that the leadership switch is a mere publicity stunt. Simitis stressed that he has mapped out the party’s government policy until 2008 as «a continuation of the modern and strong PASOK.» He revealed that even the party program, which chairman-in-waiting Papandreou is set to announce, was «drawn up a long time ago by party officials.» So what is «PASOK’s rejuvenation which expresses a momentum of change and social reform» all about? What is the «new beginning that meets the urgent demand for change»? What are the changes or corrections after eight years of governance that prompted a wave of public discontent? These questions concern Simitis as much as Papandreou. Although he was forced to step down for the sake of PASOK, the former is seeking an electoral reward for his policies and lifelong office as party supervisor. And as for the latter, instead of emanating his own light, as he claims, he is actually borrowing someone else’s, even while pledging to change government policy. A dual leadership is not just absurd but also impossible. Or, perhaps, a collusion. So it’s up to the voter to answer these questions.

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