OPINION

An unfamiliar rival?

It is confusing to see sworn opponents of ruling PASOK upset because its new leader George Papandreou has decided to demolish the party ideologically. Wasn’t it these same officials who only a few days ago were referring to PASOK as a curse which had fallen upon Greece? Without regarding PASOK as a curse, I have often said that I had hoped that Costas Simitis would rid us of PASOK in its old form. I was disappointed. But we may lodge similar hopes with George Papandreou – but only if he is leading PASOK as opposition leader (in the event of a New Democracy government) and not as prime minister. I am afraid that the apparent concern of current opposition cadres regarding the ideological integrity of PASOK is based on fear that the party, as it was in 1974, has ceased to exist and that they are now facing an unfamiliar rival. Indeed, it is true that Papandreou has not really clarified his intentions – something which has serious implications both as regards the democratic functioning of a party and the broader political system. Papandreou should have presented his plan – and received approval for it – at the recent party convention. But he preferred to rely on the weight of his family name, and was elected by acclamation – as was expected – without any objections. Since then he has been making various hints about what his intentions might be. But all this does is reveal him before the electorate as the lesser candidate.