When politics sleeps

Just under one month after the suspension of PASOK’s economic policy coordinator and former minister Giorgos Floridis on April 6 over his suggestions that it should be made easier for workers to be fired, and after the Scandinavian social security model was shot down, the Socialist party is once more shadowboxing with the obvious. Recent remarks by PASOK MP Alekos Papadopoulos, a former health minister who criticized the country’s low retirement threshold, have thrown the PASOK opposition into another state of turmoil. Papadopoulos’s comments that no one should retire before reaching the age of 60 have triggered a new round of verbal wars within the ranks of a party that claims to stand for change in the country. Notwithstanding the petty political motives of his critics, the fire being aimed at Papadopoulos would never have found its mark had the Socialist party and its leader George Papandreou hammered out a clear policy to deal with the most pressing problems facing the country today, such as the economy and social security reform. The vagueness of the opposition’s stance implies that anyone who dares to express an opinion that differs from the usual, empty rhetoric of the party is fair game for political punishment. Greek voters are calling on the opposition party to clarify its positions on major issues. The party can no longer afford to fall between the two stools of reason and of small-time politics. That they do so is obvious to every Greek citizen, which in turn is reflected in opinion polls. Citizens expect their political leaders to come up with coherent and clear solutions that will lead the country out of its current state of stagnation. «The sleep of reason brings forth monsters,» Goethe once wrote. For PASOK, the sleep of politics mainly brings forth a persistent fog.

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