OPINION

Stagnation

…The recent insurgency by 45 PASOK deputies and their proposals for social security reform – such as the previous one over a state guarantee of a minimum income – leads us to two significant political conclusions. First, social security reform, which the current government declared as «necessary and urgent,» has been postponed indefinitely. Second, a strong group appears to have solidified within the ruling party (it amounts to nearly a third of the parliamentary group) which occasionally, albeit always dynamically, reasserts PASOK’s socialist credentials. Prime Minister Costas Simitis’s government, after the serious trouble last spring triggered by its initial social security reform proposals, until recently seemed to be promoting a more mild reform which might not provide a final solution to the problem but would delay its precipitous effects for five to seven years. However, after the recent proposal by the 45 MPs – whose negativism actually surpassed that of the aligned unionists’ positions – the government has stagnated. Therefore, in view of the crucial municipal elections in November, it is certain that no initiative will be made toward a resolution of the social security issue, given that even the mildest approach would be bound to spark reactions. For the same reason, the current inertia is bound to expand over the next eight months into other sectors of governmental responsibility, such as the equally «necessary and urgent» structural changes in the economy… «We have been better at arresting minor criminals and gangsters rather than major criminals and gangsters,» Albiston told reporters, adding that police would crack down on organized crime this year.