Carte blanche?

For PASOK leader George Papandreou, the results of last weekend’s European Parliament elections were «better than expected» – evidently because party officials were anticipating a result either equal to or even less impressive than the 32.9 percent they racked up in the 1999 Euro elections when the party was reeling from the aftershocks of the Ocalan affair; so the one percentage point rise on this paltry statistic served to satisfy him absolutely! As for the fact that New Democracy secured the best result a Greek party has ever achieved in European elections while increasing its lead on PASOK to nine percentage points (from five after the March general elections), the leader of the opposition party offered the following interpretation: The election result shows the government has not been given carte blanche by the Greek people. So by how much would ND need to lead PASOK for the ruling party to be considered as having won the trust of its citizens – by 20 percent, by 30 percent? It is not conceivable that any party, or any leader, should have a completely free reign. But if anyone is acting as though they do, then this is can be no other than Papandreou himself. Having found refuge behind the 1 million «members and friends» who elected him as party chief, he behaves as its absolute leader, ignoring cadres, official groups – and messages from the grassroots.