No more alibis…

During the whole assault of vapid speeches and sensationalism of the past few days, there has been no focus whatsoever on the most important aspect of the forthcoming elections – the fact that the result will be judged chiefly by the stance which will be taken by voters supporting parties of the Left. And this is because they were the main target of Costas Simitis’s dethronement and George Papandreou’s assumption of PASOK’s top post. The aim of the leadership change is crystal-clear and has been confirmed beyond question by the first opinion polls. But the cohesion and strength of the opposition New Democracy party remain unaffected, maintaining the party’s momentum. Meanwhile the slight recovery achieved by PASOK is exclusively due to losses suffered by the three parties of the Left, chiefly the Democratic Social Movement (DIKKI) and Synaspismos Left Coalition. And it is this fact that hints toward the real change that switching Simitis for Papandreou can produce – namely reproducing for PASOK the penetration of the Left which it enjoyed during the 1980s when Andreas Papandreou was in power. But now that PASOK can no longer rely on the favorable impression which Costas Simitis made on voters of the center-right – and which clinched him election victories in 1996 and 2000 – such an eventuality would really be an unforeseeable, inconceivable and irrational political phenomenon.

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