The knives are out

Less than a month after the March 7 general election, it has become clear that instead of going ahead with the radical changes and the «new start» he had pledged for PASOK, new Socialist chairman George Papandreou has been forced to adopt a defensive strategy based on compromise and concession. As a result, the European elections on June 13, rather than prompting the restructuring of PASOK and marking the beginning of a counterattack, have opened the door to party rivalries. It is indicative of the climate within the defeated Socialist party that its new leader has deferred all the necessary moves to overhaul PASOK (a party convention, new organizational structure, new ideological identity and so on) to the coming November. He clearly thinks that the acute economic problems that New Democracy will be faced with will allow him to regain his leadership status, which was tarnished after the commanding victory of the conservative party. However, the eight months remaining before Papandreou makes his crucial decisions about the future of his party is, politically speaking, a long period of time – especially if we take into consideration that many Socialist cadres have already begun to question his ability to steer the party. Besides, party criticism of the new chairman will more likely grow than subside as time goes by.

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