OPINION

Last-ditch attempt

A few days ahead of the general elections and sensing inescapable defeat, the ruling party is doing everything it can to prolong its grip on power, thereby disclosing its deep-seated establishment mentality. PASOK began its electoral campaign assuming a moderate profile. It then made an unsuccessful bid to broaden its political catchment, both on the left and the right, before resurrecting the old-fashioned socialist rhetoric of the late Andreas Papandreou. The Socialist party is now finally looking for a lifeline in populism, fanaticism, polarization and misinformation. Without any consideration of the future, PASOK’s new leader George Papandreou has promised to double farmers’ pensions and has said that the measure will be backed by cutting arms expenditures, notwithstanding the fact that weapons deals have already been made. He is now treading on the border of gray propaganda, using machinations and vile means. Having failed to sway PASOK’s disaffected voters, Papandreou has persistently snubbed conservative Costas Karamanlis’s moderate electoral campaign and has even tried to distort it, exploiting fleeting and unfortunate remarks by parliamentary candidates, like those of Vyron Polydoras recently, or by using suspicious surveillance mechanisms to purportedly reveal New Democracy’s distribution of leaflets slandering the Socialist leader. The ends seem to justify the means in the case of PASOK. In its attempt to spare itself a defeat, the party has gone as far as to mobilize mechanisms that are rejected by the public, and to utilize methods against which he has set up independent bodies to supposedly defend the citizen. Such tactics are in breach of democratic rules and principles, and plunge the election race into the mud. If there is one thing that one could conclude from the latest twist in the Socialists’ electoral campaign, it is the establishment mentality and the anxiety of the governing party in view of its unsuccessful bid to ensure a fourth term in office. Victory in the Sunday polls is the ultimate goal of Socialist officials and there is nothing they won’t sacrifice on the altar. Such tactics push the electoral race into gray areas, foreshadowing a dark and problematic future for politics. Whatever propaganda apparatus the ruling party comes up with, it will still fall short of erasing the demand for political change – a demand that is the will of most citizens. Rather, it feeds that demand, something that could become the deciding factor in Sunday’s elections.