OPINION

Intense opposition?

PASOK’s leadership is obliged – in view of next month’s European elections – to show the public that it has got over the initial shock of its March election defeat and to demonstrate a certain dynamism in opposition. Moreover, PASOK’s leader has already become the target of negative criticism from several cadres who are convinced that, due to his irresolution, the «major democratic faction» has lost its momentum. So, with the June 13 European Parliament elections looming and with polls predicting PASOK at eight percentage points behind New Democracy, George Papandreou has been forced to display an «aggressive» attitude toward the government and to promise yet another «new beginning» to PASOK’s (disappointed) grass roots. Although there is not much time left until the European elections, and although Papandreou’s party may not be ready to face an electoral showdown with the aim of «correcting» the impressions created by the unfavorable outcome of the March general elections, Costas Simitis’s successor now has no choice but to exercise intense opposition. And he must also reassure front-line and middle-ranking party cadres who believe that, unless things change, PASOK’s prospects are dim. What Papandreou will probably aim for is to survive the elections without any major losses and to create a situation where he is entirely in control of the party ahead of a scheduled convention in November….