Mandate demands action

PASOK’s George Papandreou yesterday scored a resounding victory as Costas Karamanlis, the outgoing prime minister, announced that he will step down from the helm of the New Democracy party. Political affiliation aside, all Greeks want the new prime minister, who takes over in the midst of a deep economic crisis, to succeed. Papandreou is expected to make bold decisions in his first 100 days in government. The path to fiscal reform will be long and strewn with pitfalls. The socialist leader should push institutional reforms on issues such as the election system, transparency and the funding of political parties. One of the most important lessons from New Democracy’s spell is that difficult changes can only be introduced under a fresh mandate. New Democracy enters a crucial period. Yesterday’s defeat should not throw the party into an extended period of navel-gazing. The conservatives must shape up because Greece needs a robust center-right party; a party that will soon have to fight its way to power.