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PASOK’s burden
Sep 21, 2003

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Announcements regarding the legalization of illegally constructed buildings show that the ruling PASOK party is planning to exhaust every possibility for adopting vote-gathering measures in an attempt to reverse the current climate before the next election. Poll results, initial indications from surveys not yet completed, and prevailing political opinions all conclude that the difference between the main opposition New Democracy party and PASOK is decreasing, but not enough to reverse the current correlation of forces.

ND’s lead is due not only to the rallying of its electoral base but primarily to the political decline of the ruling party. In other words, a large number of voters — in the main reacting to government policy — have moved over to the main opposition party. Even at the best of times for the government, the difference between the two parties has not fallen below six points. In practice this means that ND’s lead is well established. Its exact extent may depend on the political circumstances of the time, but there is a definite hard core of about six percentage points that remains steady.

It is precisely this factor that makes PASOK’s counterattack so difficult. The psychological need on the part of the ruling party to keep alive some hope and nourish the possibility that the climate can be reversed is understandable. However, the facts are not in its favor, even if the outcome is judged only on election day.

PASOK’s greatest opponent is not ND, but the disillusioned social groups who once supported it. These are the main reasons that have led to the outflow of voters to the opposition. The long years in power have not only brought about political decline. Entangled interests and the rising tide of corruption have brought about a marked moral decline as well, which undermines our society’s value system.

It is true that the package of handouts, vote-grabbing measures and wave of campaign promises have not left the beneficiaries unmoved, but they have not greatly altered their electoral preferences. Experience has shown that the campaign “gifts” are not enough on their own. On the other hand, the government’s attempt to interact with various categories of voters further undermines its political credibility with other social groups. This means that the electoral balance does not appear to be tilting according to the government’s plans.

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