Opposition’s response

PASOK leader George Papandreou has made a strong impact with his response to the government’s attack against «entangled interests.» Saying he was prepared to support Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and that he would not link the election by Parliament of a president next year with «any investigative committee» were important declarations by Papandreou with regard to his political choices. And they have made a deep impression on the political landscape being created by Karamanlis. This is the first time since becoming the leader of the Socialists that Papandreou has attempted to make his mark on domestic political affairs. Of particular interest is his stand regarding the political confrontation with entangled interests in a way sure to displease those party figures who do not want any display of consensus regarding a controversial issue that is particularly unpleasant for a certain segment of the party. Of course, Papandreou gave prior consideration to the response he made at a Psyrri restaurant to Karamanlis’s earlier statements at another restaurant, in Monastiraki. The PASOK president has no reason to get involved, as the leader of a weakened party, in a serious clash with a strong government. It would definitely be worse for Papandreou if early elections were held in a climate of polarization caused by a PASOK-New Democracy clash that would thwart the election of a president by consensus. Papandreou’s decision is undoubtedly positive for the country’s public life and in line with the public’s desire to rid politics of entangled interests. However, the government should take close note of Papandreou’s behavior, for his declaration that he has no objection to an investigation into entangled interests puts him in a stronger position and therefore makes him absolutely responsible for the way in which this major issue evolves.