Party at a standstill

It’s hard to see how George Papandreou will possibly manage to keep PASOK’s two divergent factions together. His job is made even more difficult by the fact that developments are taking place in the shadow of the founder of the now-stationary movement. Both leading candidates for the party leadership have been persistently (and with no shortage of hypocrisy) invoking the name of the father ad nauseam. One cites his blood relationship for lack of any other substantial qualification. The other claims a spiritual affinity, portraying himself as a more authentic standard-bearer of Papandreou’s legacy than his son. And no one in either of the two rival camps seems willing to acknowledge that perhaps it’s time for PASOK to be weaned off its founder. PASOK cannot again become a movement. But at least it can try to become a party that has confidence in its internal procedures without yielding to the whims of the more charismatic figures, as it were; a party that does not litter its ideas with populist sound bites; a party that is not motivated by a blind desire for power. The barbs and accusations traded by the two contenders means it is highly unlikely that they will be able to coexist after November 11. Even the conservative leader has been spared the stinging accusations exchanged between the two PASOK camps. Talk of conspiracy, entangled interests, craving for power and corruption is not new. But never has it been leveled by one PASOK official against another. In the wake of all this vitriol, is coexistence feasible, let alone moral? And how can the people ever trust PASOK again when they now know that it cannot even be cemented by that same hypocrisy that has for years held it formally, if not ideologically, united.