Political swings

George Papandreou inherited the mantle of the Socialist party by popular vote, thereby putting his much-hyped «participatory democracy» into practice. Even so, the election of PASOK’s new leader took place in a controversial manner, as the former foreign minister was the sole candidate while the identity and the size of the electoral body were not strictly specified. However, the principle of participatory democracy has since then been abandoned. Worse, Papandreou has displayed a tendency to tighten his grip on the levers of power inside the party. After saying «yes» to the UN Cyprus reunification plan – a decision that was taken without paying heed to the various party bodies – it was reported that the makeup of the National Council for the Reconstruction of the [PASOK] Movement, due to organize the upcoming party convention, will barely be the product of participatory democracy. Of its 600 members, half will originate in the party structure (executive bureau, central committee, parliamentary group) while the rest will be appointed by Papandreou «to reflect the expansion of PASOK’s political catchment to the right and to the left.» Plainly, Papandreou plans a tailor-made convention that will merely endorse what he has already decided. Even more emphatic is the snubbing of the participatory democracy principle in the selection of PASOK’s Euro MP candidates, who will eventually be picked from above and not from the party base. The decision was prompted by fears that a direct vote could nominate candidates who do not belong to the political «star system» or persons that cannot fulfill a European deputy’s role. PASOK supporters were deemed mature, responsible and wise four months ago when asked to rubber-stamp participatory democracy and the sole PASOK candidate. Now they are judged immature, irresponsible and unworthy of picking a Euro MP.

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