OPINION

Party undermining election campaign?

Opinion polls conducted since George Papandreou whirled onto the center of the political stage have revealed sufficiently positive results for opposition New Democracy to create tension within the ruling PASOK party. Supporters of Costas Simitis – who were not happy with the switch that their leader was forced to make – are already criticizing Papandreou for being ineffectual as a politician and accusing him of launching his pre-election campaign without having prepared a solid enough strategy to clinch victory for PASOK in the March 7 elections. As for Papandreou’s supporters, they are certain that followers of Costas Simitis are undermining the process of exchanging the two leaders and many are appealing to Papandreou to adopt a stricter stance vis-a-vis fanatical reformists, who are hoping for «Giorgaki’s» defeat in the forthcoming elections. For their part, Papandreou’s followers believe that the «reformist movement» is a lost cause, part of the past, and that the party’s new leader has no obligation to negotiate with those who are seeking to undermine him today. Within the ruling party, there has been no letup in the feverish activity following the announcement of a leadership change. Party officials are appearing on television debates, explaining to voters why PASOK deserves to be re-elected and praising Simitis’s achievements but at the same time stressing the need for a «different policy,» «social reforms» and «change.»