Uneasy alliance

The relationship between Greece’s leading neo-liberal duo, Stefanos Manos and Andreas Andrianopoulos, and George Papandreou’s Socialist party has entered a very interesting phase. The interest lies not so much in the unmistakable ideological tension between the two sides but rather in Papandreou’s reaction to the unfolding tiff. PASOK cadres are urging their chairman to put an end to this inconvenient marriage yet Papandreou is turning a deaf ear. One may assume Papandreou is simply refusing to admit his overture to the former conservative officials was a political blunder. The explanation sounds plausible but one would also have to accept that the Socialist chairman’s stubbornness is a new, even greater act of folly. So it could be that Papandreou’s insistence, so unpopular among PASOK members, signifies that he has some specific plan in mind which he is – for some reason – keeping secret from his fellow Socialists. Or perhaps there is a third explanation. Papandreou may indeed want to keep Manos and Andrianopoulos on standby in case they prove useful in molding PASOK’s (still obscure) political platform at some point in the not-so-distant future. Talk in the corridors of government and opposition circles says Papandreou actually condones the reforms promoted by the New Democracy administration. By writing articles in newspapers, Papandreou’s close aides have commented on the government’s reform campaign and tried to rescue at least some of their social democratic credentials. The end product is fuzzy double-talk. Papandreou’s attempt to accommodate two neo-liberal figures under PASOK’s roof may not be too incompatible with his political ideas after all.

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