OPINION

Great expectations

In life, as in politics, great expectations generally culminate in disappointment. Those who know George Papandreou well have been asking themselves the following: whether the generally anticipated disappointment will come after the elections in the event that PASOK’s leader-in-waiting is called upon to head a new government, or whether it is to happen before the elections, that is, during Papandreou’s trial period as leader. The observation above does not imply disdain for Papandreou as a politician, it simply highlights the inordinate expectations with which PASOK has embarked upon this change in leadership. A sober assessment of the three-week period since Papandreou’s promotion reveals that PASOK’s spin doctors have based their efforts on highlighting the miraculous changes that PASOK’s new leader shall bring to the party, to public life and to the country in general. Indeed, they have tried to transform, as if by magic, the popular discontent and disappointment provoked by PASOK’s eight years in government into jubilation and faith in a «new movement.» And it is within this climate of political abandon and irresponsibility that Greek voters are being asked to cast their votes for PASOK on March 7, thereby sanctioning the deeds of Simitis’s administration and putting their faith in Papandreou as some purger of corruption, as subversive to his predecessor’s basic political choices and the torch-bearer of a new morality and style of government. Evidently those who have created and who preach this contradictory platform for PASOK’s new leader had no other choice. Simitis had to be replaced because of the public’s waning faith in him. Furthermore, the image of Simitis as a technocrat, a moderate and practical leader, a reformist of the school of Andreas Papandreou – on the basis of which PASOK’s outgoing leader clinched his last two electoral victories – had faded. The party needs, once again, a charismatic and visionary leader who can inspire and rouse the masses, as well as preach the ideas that will rekindle democratic convictions…