OPINION

Long-term tactics?

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis made his intentions quite clear with his policy speech before Parliament and the package of measures he announced. The welfare state and social spending are to be at the top of the government’s agenda during the first part of its term in office. Besides, this is the message the new government believes it received from the voters who elected it. And so Karamanlis’s tactics are an attempt to secure the support of new groups of voters who decided to put their faith in him rather than PASOK. At the same time, these tactics are weakening PASOK’s opposition, which appears lamentable. And the party appears to be slowly slipping into a crisis situation as the feeble presence of party leader George Papandreou precludes the party’s swift reorganization. Meanwhile, PASOK appears to be losing its traditional supporters who have been listening to the new party leader parroting the monotonous, accountant-minded logic of Costas Simitis. Meanwhile their one-time «enemy» Karamanlis has been winning their satisfaction with decisions on permanency for contract workers, pensions and compound interest. Many believe that the new government’s tactics will «expire» by the June Euro-elections or – at the latest – by the end of the August Olympics. But those who have observed Karamanlis during his many years as ND leader have seen that his choices and initiatives have not been shortsighted…