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The split of PASOK

01 November 2012 / 23:11:16  GRReporter
4691 reads

Victoria Mindova

The PASOK parliamentary group is slowly starting to scatter like dust in the wind. After the fiasco with yesterday’s vote on some of the reforms agreed with the lenders, the leader of the socialists gathered together the party for an analysis after the game. The words "These are the measures. Those who do not vote them can leave," expressed his main message.

The deputy from northwestern Greece, Michalis Kasis, hastened to disaffiliate himself by saying he did not intend to support measures with which he fundamentally disagreed and which opposed his ideological beliefs.

Much more verbose and considerably more dramatic was the official letter by the former minister of Health and Social Policy Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou to the party leadership.

In a letter to party leader Evangelos Venizelos, Xenogiannakopoulou explicitly states that she cannot remain a member of PASOK. She accuses the leadership of the party of inaction and mainly of lack of initiative by Venizelos who did not undertake to renegotiate the financial support terms so that they were beneficial to the members of PASOK and fitted them as well.

She calls herself "politically homeless, like so many other fighters from PASOK". She insists that her counterparts, who support the government, are only interested in becoming ministers in the cabinet of Antonis Samaras and defines today's PASOK as a small neoliberal fraction. The former minister refuses to vote on the fiscal adjustment measures like the ordinary Kasis and gives the grounds for her decision as follows,

"I cannot accept that the Greek society must be 'Balkanized' as a condition for the new programme and that just democratic public achievements, which are an important and integral part of the European political culture, must be destroyed."

The synonym for failure, in this case the word "Balkanization" according to Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou could not remain unnoticed. The first conclusion to which we have come was that according to Xenogiannakopoulou, Greece is beyond its geographical neighbours by default. The majority of Balkan countries had experienced at least one financial default in recent decades. They had taken aid from the International Monetary Fund (significantly less than the aid to Greece). They had reduced their pensions to zero, optimized the public sector as much as possible and undertaken a number of other painful reforms in order to begin to emerge from the swamp.

"Why should this happen to Greece?" the former minister apparently asks herself and calls for the immediate introduction of measures to support the financial growth without having to go through fiscal adjustment. Obviously, according to her, government spending is not inflated, public administration does its job excellently and state monopolies in a number of sectors do not hinder economic growth and development of the free market.

GRReporter tried to contact the disaffiliated deputy not only for her to explain what her resistance to the "Balkanization" means but also to give us a clearer picture of the atmosphere in PASOK. In her letter to Venizelos, she clearly implies that she is not alone in her resentment against the present socialist party and that further losses will follow soon.

So, we were unable to obtain an explanation of Xenogiannakopoulou’s point of view. After several attempts, we contacted her party office and the reply was that the already independent deputy was very busy. Although we left contact details, no answer came. We decided to seek the opinion of the other player in the drama - PASOK.

Socialist spokeswoman Fofi Genimata was Deputy Minister of Social Welfare at the time of Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou. She turned out to be too busy to talk to the media as well. "Mrs. Genimata is at a meeting and no one knows when it will end," Fofi Genimata’s secretary replied formally.

The same secretary sent us to a man named Nikos Vosdoganis, who proved to be an ordinary deputy of PASOK with no specific role in its leadership. When he finally picked up his phone to answer upon the fifth ring in a row, Vosdoganis declined to comment and said it was not his business.

Within minutes, we received a call from the secretary of PASOK’s spokeswoman. She explained that Fofi Genimata would remain busy and asked us to call the central press office of the party. Phones there may have been muted because there was no answer.

The last implication of this unfortunate day is that the fate of Greece obviously hangs on a very thin thread. One of the strongest parties until yesterday, PASOK, is falling apart today and the fact that it is a partner in the government coalition is only catalyzing the process. Communication between the units has been broken, the party has split from reality and its members are fighting for what has been left of its former glory.

Citizens, in turn, are not indifferent to the developments in the party of the coalition partner. A Twitter user notes with irony, "Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou??? Michalis Kasis?? They all followed the great and democratic PASOK line."



Others address the chaos in the ranks of socialists and Xenogiannakopoulou’s leaving with a stronger sense of humour: "Xenogiannakopoulou has left PASOK to accept the offer to become the next Bond girl."

Tags: PoliticsPASOKCrisisSplitVenizelos
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