OPINION

Shifting up gears on the political stage

No one in politics doubts that 2005 will be a difficult year for the New Democracy government, both in terms of the challenges it will face and its relationship with the Socialist opposition. The enforcement of the new budget against the backdrop of political and social problems, the eventuality of presidential elections and the state of main opposition PASOK promised an intense period for politics. But it seems that the final months of this year will set the stage for political developments next year. The government of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis – following a period of about seven months which were chiefly spent on preparing and organizing the Olympic Games, spurring the opposition to accuse it of inactivity – has now stepped up a few gears. And PASOK has realized that not only is the prime minister attempting to develop key policies as quickly as possible, he is also determined to challenge the opposition, to the extent that officials from George Papandreou’s party will soon find themselves entangled in allegations of mismanagement by the previous government… And so Karamanlis is dodging charges of government inactivity, maintaining that only now – following the fulfillment of all Greece’s Olympic obligations – does he have his «hands free» for government action, to fulfill his pre-electoral pledges…