OPINION

Leader by acclaim?

Let us be straightforward, blunt – and democratic. PASOK’s imminent extraordinary general convention and the way in which the party’s leader-in-waiting George Papandreou has been promoted show an undermining of democracy never before seen in Greece. If we are to believe reports from senior PASOK officials, then both the convention and the election of a party chairman by popular vote have been carefully organized as part of a march toward electoral victory on March 7. Observation number one: PASOK’s extraordinary convention this weekend is expected to decide its self-determination or abolition as a supreme authority. But when a party leader is elected by popular vote – which includes the approval of non-members – the role of the convention as a supreme authority is undermined. Observation number two: Every form of participatory democracy foresees the existence of public bodies, procedures, and terms of parliamentary control and even recall. Let us say that Papandreou is called upon to defend his actions – the success or otherwise of his «leadership.» Which authority will he address? The party committee, which is not elected by popular vote, or the convention, which is representative but does not elect a leader? One could say that Papandreou is confused about the definition of democracy if there were not the lingering suspicion that he is seeking a popular mandate to undermine what is left of democracy in the party…