Where is PASOK on the economy?

There are those within the ranks of the main opposition PASOK party who wonder why many in the business world are viewing its possible rise to power with skepticism. It doesn’t make sense when we consider that under Costas Simitis’s administration, PASOK facilitated the process of privatization, dragged the National Bank of Greece into the 21st century and imposed the practice of self-funding large public works. The doubt concerns two things: first that no one is quite sure who is responsible for financial matters in PASOK – the economy, after all, will be the biggest problem PASOK will have to tackle if and when it comes to power. The second reason is that some within the party appear to be longing for a return to an obsolete statist model of governance. It is only natural to hear such ideas expressed by politicians dreaming of promotions and kickbacks, unionists who would like to play the Almighty over debt-ridden businesses, bygone types still looking for that third way. It is even normal for some to want a National Bank that is fully under the state’s control, that can promote party cadres and disburse loans to friends and partners. There have been some successes in the last two administrations of Costas Karamanlis, among them the laying to rest of the entire Olympic Airlines debacle (even though it came at a very high cost) and the privatization of OTE telecom and the Piraeus Port Authority. There was no significant opposition to these decisions and so the myth that «only a right-wing government can adopt such measures» was dispelled. PASOK has been known on occasion to consider overturning all three of these decisions. Maybe it is trying to win some votes from the left. But this stance is ludicrous for a party with a reputation for modernizing the economy and which has its eye on winning support in the middle ground. The voters of the middle ground are looking for good managers and have no desire to again suffer the mistakes of the past.