Post-political politics

The next opinion polls will show the results of PASOK’s new recruits. There is no doubt, though, that this has been a highly risky decision. After the euphoria of last Sunday’s election of new party chairman George Papandreou, PASOK’s officials and members have fallen into a state of political shock. For them, Messrs Stefanos Manos and Andreas Andrianopoulos had personified the absolute ideological «evil.» Papandreou believes that by recruiting the two neoliberal crusaders, he will ram New Democracy amidships, attracting at least those who in 1996 had voted for PASOK because they were attracted by Costas Simitis’s cry of «reform.» Even so, there is the risk of losing votes to the Left. PASOK’s two new «finds» are like a red cloth to the bulls of leftists and PASOK’s rank and file, who had felt great relief at the change of leader and expected the party founder’s son to apply an updated version of Andreas Papandreou’s policies. But the addition from the Left of Maria Damanaki and Mimis Androulakis is also problematic. Their role in Andreas Papandreou’s indictment by Parliament in ’89 has not been forgotten by PASOK voters. Obviously George Papandreou has made his own calculations. On the strength of his name and with unprecedented legitimacy, he feels that he has the luxury of being able to shatter the ethical and political stereotypes of his party. He takes it for granted that the discomfort at grassroots level will ease. But the most important thing in this issue is that enlargement is one-sided. Manos and Andrianopoulos are not counterbalanced by the recruits from the Left, Damanaki and Androulakis. There is a creeping, eclectic relationship between Papandreou and the four, a common denominator. If this is not the case, then we are sliding down the slope of politics on a post-political basis, on the strength of glamour, without ideology.