Party barons behaving badly

Socialist cadres admit that the existing situation hardly favors the ruling party but insist that the initiative lies with them, that a comeback and a consequent victory are still feasible. The prime minister misses no opportunity to declare that PASOK will be judged on election day by its achievements, which principally lie in attaining genuine convergence with the EU so as to enhance, at the economic and social level, an already «powerful» Greece – as Costas Simitis rather famously once termed it. So far, one could argue that the ruling Socialists have been tackling their current predicament in a realistic fashion and are trying to gather strength to change the climate. But it’s worth noting that at the same time, with one eye fixed on October’s local elections and a possible heavy defeat, PASOK’s administration and senior cadres are behaving in a fashion which undermines both government performance and hopes for a comeback. The prime minister insists on presenting an idealized picture of reality, indulging in a dull, tedious rhetoric and is seemingly unable to control his party, which is bedeviled by endless, paralyzing talk about his succession. Any initiatives (prime ministerial tours, public sector appointments, artificial polarization, preparations for the July party meeting) have been superficial and have failed to impress. Deeply concerned over PASOK’s future and their own personal prospects, party barons are undermining – whether intentionally or not – the effort that they themselves claim to be making for improved performance and PASOK’s chances for victory. This situation, of course, pleases New Democracy. But the country’s numerous, acute problems in the daunting post-EMU era call for solutions by a dynamic and efficient government and not by PASOK’s weary party hacks, who do nothing but feed the conservatives’ aspirations.