Historical necessity

” PASOK’s fourth electoral victory is a historical necessity for the country,» Prime Minister Costas Simitis said at a Cabinet meeting last week. Fortunately, he avoiding using the phrase «national necessity,» which was the central mantra of the junta when justifying their dictatorship. Nonetheless, «historical necessity» is an exaggeration for a democratic party that has ruled the country for 20 years and demands that people renew its mandate on the grounds that its «historical mission» has yet to be fulfilled. If Simitis did not portray himself as a politician who is carrying on the work of late Prime Minister and PASOK founder Andreas Papandreou, if his policies did not oscillate between modernist-minded reforms and the resuscitation of the PASOK of the 1980s, then the current prime minister might well be entitled to invoke an incomplete mission. Simitis, however, justified the «historical necessity» of a fourth electoral victory by using arguments which clearly hark back to Papandreou’s era and slogans. Simitis said that «we have to ensure that Greece of the 21st century is a Greece which belongs to all Greeks, a Greece which listens to and strengthens the weak, a Greece which provides opportunities and opens up new prospects… for everyone.» But if none of these goals, invoked by the Socialists since 1980, have been accomplished, how can the ruling party guarantee that they will be achieved under a fourth successive term led by Simitis?