OPINION

Secret agenda

The sorry shape of Giorgos Papandreou’s Socialist party constitutes a serious problem for the country’s political arena. Costas Simitis’s successor has failed to revitalize the political foundations of his party or set up a new administrative framework. Postponing all important issues until the January 2005 convention, Papandreou is wasting most of his time on procedural details and on efforts to form a group of allies that will enable him to strengthen his grip on the party. Papandreou’s stand means trouble for the Socialist party, but that is not the only problem. PASOK’s opposition is formulated either by random, knee-jerk reactions from cadres who are thirsty to expose themselves ahead of the coming convention or, worse, by circles outside the party. These, of course, have their own agenda which, in a nutshell, consists of undermining the New Democracy government. We have reached a point where these circles, which have traditionally backed the Socialists, set the tone of PASOK’s opposition. And although the new Socialist leader is not keen to take on a hard-line policy, he is now dragged into a mode of behavior that is out of sync with his pledges for a new PASOK. Not surprisingly, these tactics are embraced by cadres who are closer to the grassroots of the party.