Time to get back to politics

The PASOK opposition party seems to have rested on its laurels after its victory in the European parliamentary elections in June. Its political reflexes are weak; it seems incapable of making sure its own officials do not make public gaffes and it gives the overall impression that it believes it already has the next national elections in the bag. The matter of electing a new president has returned like a boomerang, just as it did for Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis in 2000. The successful and tight-knit group that surrounds PASOK chief George Papandreou seems to be operating less than effectively and balks every time it is faced with a sticky question, such as, for example, Theodoros Tsoukatos’s testimony in the Siemens probe. Some say the party is tired, others say it is suffering from too much confidence. Certain party cadres in PASOK need to realize that harping on about early elections has made them look rather ridiculous. Right now, people are more concerned about their summer holidays and how they’re going to cope in the months to come than they are about the possibility of elections. And, of course, there is a great deal of displeasure in the government, as even certain New Democracy officials will admit. However, there has been little in the way of a wave of support for PASOK similar to that enjoyed by ND back in 2004. The opposition has avoided saying how it plans to deal with the economic crisis and illegal migration, limiting itself instead to harsh criticism without any counterproposals. Certain advisers of Papandreou have convinced him that this is how Karamanlis won the elections in 2004, when they should be more concerned with the public’s disappointment in both the government and the opposition. PASOK should be preparing itself for a difficult and unpredictable fall rather then speculating about elections. This is when the real tests will come, and there will be no room for error.

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