Thursday, September 6, 2007

PASOK: Third way for third leader

Earlier on i started a brief explanation of the political parties, but what with the fires i got sidetracked. So back to the flow.
PASOK is the leading opposition party. Founded in 1974 by the economist Andreas Papandreou who led it to victory in 1981, making it the first socialist government ever to do so since 1924. He led a series of reforms including de-nazifying the military, building schools and hospitals. The only branches he admitted that he couldn't reform was education, police and the judiciary.

The party is now lead by his son George Papandreou. He is trying to continue the reforms implemented by his predecessor and former PM, Mr Simitis. In this way PASOK is similar to the Labour Party of UK and Australia, both of which advocate a Third way in politics, one that realises that global economic integration is a fact but combines it with social responsibility. PASOK differs from ND in that it has a comprehensive policy platform that includes increasing recycling by 100% in 5 years, building drug rehabilitation centres (How DARE he insinuate that some Greeks have drug problems), care for the environment and regional economic regeneration programs. I have not seen such a comprehensive platform in the other parties.

However this shift in thinking has alienated him from traditional voters, those who still expect the role of PASOK is to hire 'their boys' to government postings. Many of those who are vocal against George Papandreou are those in the Greek foreign service. When he was minister he hired many Greek - Somethings (Greek - Canadians / Australians etc) on fixed year contracts based on their knowledge as opposed to making/hiring Permanent staff from within the ranks of PASOK.

And its this shift away from political patronage that has politically harmed George Papandreou and the party. I say harmed him personally because while PASOK was in power, not everyone followed his example and many charges of corruption were levelled at fellow politicians, and was one of the reasons they lost power. But those who were criticised as being corrupt are the ones who remain popular to this day, and should he win their is no guarantee that they will change. It should be mentioned that during the Prime Ministership of Simitis, corruption as measured by Transperency International fell, something that New Democracy has reversed.

The other problem with George Papandreou is the time he spent in exile growing up and being educated in Scandanavia. His policies, the way he talks calmly without hyperbole might be good for Scandanavia and the rest of Europe, but apparently that's not what the people in Greece want to hear, or at least what the media says isn't what people want to hear.
As a result PASOK remains behind in the polls.
However, and many may disagree i do think he has a Vision for Greece that is more in line with some of our more progressed neighbours.


graffic said...

The idea of hiring people who is expert in the area the will work on, I guess is the best I've ever seen since in my country is a matter of politicians only.

But, is a personal matter, I do not trust in politicians. Time ago I started to think why companies succeed, and why a country doesn't succeed.

- Why countries doesn't use quality standars in their procedures?
- Why public servants are so shieled even when they do they work so bad?
- Why people who only know how to speak , manage a country?
- Why if its "demo"cracy, in fact is politician-craZy?
- Why the opposition says always no?
- Why the leading party says always no to suggestions from the opposition?
- Why there is so many people getting so much money and doing not so much work?
-Why there are so many "managers" (politicians in the parlieamnt) in this "company" (country), that instead of fighting for the good of the country, fight for the good of their pocket or the pocket of the their political parties?

Do you imagine any big private company being successful doing all of those things?

Why do you think that if you vote the political party A or political party B your country will improve, if in the end, most politicians are the same.

Vassili - Mike said...

Private companies are not always Infallable, look at ENRON, or Swiss air and their screw up with private consultants. Public services can work efficiently. Sweden experimented with privatising public services, not all succeeded to the standards set up.
Perhaps the 'secret' is in that word. Standards, they can help accomplish a lot and acts a baseline for lots of thingss from work practices to ethics.
You are right, most politicians are the same. Most Politicians in Switzerland think the same way - and what an organised country it is.
As voters we should all be more active and take our vote more seriously. In a democracy we get the leadership we deserve, that isnt a derogatory quote, its the truth. People should be involved and vote representatives who actually talk about the big issues that concern the country and its future.
Vote for the politician who can make a change, or who best represents you. Or perhaps if you are so pessemistic, the lesser of two evils.