PASOK’s long stay in power has bestowed on the ruling party several establishment characteristics which have already distorted the public sphere in various ways. The recycling of the same figures for nearly 20 years in all posts of government has had a profound effect on the State’s ability to function. It has created areas under suffocating political control, allowed the intrusion of private interests, distorted the economy, undermined competition, prevented renewal and cultivated interventionist and arbitrary thinking. In addition, this complex party-state mechanism is subject to an establishment mentality which, in periods of crisis, results in maneuvering aimed at self-preservation. This seems to be the case at present. This party-state mechanism senses that the privileges of power are threatened by a possible – indeed likely – defeat in the coming elections and has therefore mobilized quite simple but quite ruthless self-defense mechanisms, in disregard of all institutional limitations. Faced with the prospect of electoral defeat, this party behemoth has circulated political scenarios regarding the succession to Prime Minister Costas Simitis. Of course, these are not serving the public good. Addicted to power, without any wish to give up what they have possessed for years, party factions promote and work out solutions that do not fall within the public mandate. And popular will is something very specific and institutionally safeguarded by the country’s constitution and laws. It should be noted that in the previous elections, the Greek public decided that Simitis would be the one to rule the country. Simitis was given a mandate on the basis of specific commitments and pledges. Yet every time the prime minister tries to implement his program and carry out specific measures, shouldering the corresponding political cost, internal forces rush to raise obstacles or to set procedures in motion which are aimed at questioning or even removing him. Such practices may be typical of party-state mechanisms but are at odds with democratic institutions. Simitis was elected to lead the country for a specific period of time and will be judged on his success. Everyone, and above all his supposed comrades, should respect this. Simitis should be left undistracted to complete his mission. The people are the sole arbiter. Ulterior motives can have no place in the present era. The Israeli diplomat went on to explain that Israeli forces act only when Israeli intelligence has «strict and clear» information about suspected suicide bombers.