Restructuring PASOK

No one appears to be much the wiser regarding the identity of the «new PASOK» following the recent declaration by the party chairman, George Papandreou. Papandreou positioned his party in the «progressive Left» but clarified that «we are also democrats, progressives, Social Democrats, leftists, center-leftists and centrists.» That has provoked the first few jibes by party members, along the lines of: «This is not a party, it’s a cooperative supermarket.» What was crystal-clear was that Papandreou used various «ruses» and the creation of a restructuring council – whose sheer size renders it ineffective – to bypass the party system and to conclusively abolish any notion of party barons. The complaint we have already started hearing from top PASOK cadres is that the changes heralded by Papandreou will mean that nothing will be able to work according to established rules any more, and that all decisions will depend on Papandreou and his circle of advisers (officials who may be accomplished professionals but who have not yet become experienced politicians). Even those PASOK cadres who believe that the party, after a long spell in government, could really benefit from an intensive reorganization, are highly skeptical about whether Papandreou is in a position to inspire – and subsequently manage – such an overhaul of the party he heads.