Panhellenic Socialist Movement

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Panhellenic Socialist Movement
Πανελλήνιο Σοσιαλιστικό Κίνημα
President Evangelos Venizelos
Secretary-General Nikos Androulakis
Founder Andreas Papandreou
Slogan With the power of the democratic bloc
Founded 3 September 1974
Headquarters

Hippocrates Street 22,

106 80 Athens, Greece
Youth wing PASOK Youth
Ideology Social democracy[1]
Third Way[1]
Social liberalism[2][3]
Political position Centre-left
National affiliation Olive Tree
International affiliation Socialist International,
Progressive Alliance
European affiliation Party of European Socialists
European Parliament group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Colours Green
Parliament
27 / 300
European Parliament
2 / 21
Regions[4]
373 / 725
Website
pasok.gr
Politics of Greece
Political parties
Elections

The Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Greek: Πανελλήνιο Σοσιαλιστικό Κίνημα, IPA: [paneˈlinio sosjalistiˈko ˈcinima]), known mostly by its acronym PASOK (Greek: ΠΑΣΟΚ, pronounced [paˈsok]), is a social-democratic[5][6][7] political party in Greece.

It was founded on 3 September 1974 by Andreas Papandreou as a democratic socialist party.[8] On 18 October 1981, PASOK became Greece's first left-of-centre party to win a majority in the Hellenic Parliament.

PASOK is a member of the Socialist International,[9] the Progressive Alliance[10] and the Party of European Socialists.[11] PASOK MEPs sit with the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament.

Formerly one of the two major parties in Greek politics, PASOK lost much of its popular support as a result of the unprecedented austerity measures that accompanied an international bailout requested by the government of George Papandreou in response to the Greek government-debt crisis. Following two legislative elections which failed to produce a parliamentary majority for any single party, PASOK agreed to form a coalition government with its conservative rival New Democracy in June 2012.

History[edit]

Foundation[edit]

The first members of the Party were the main organizers of the collapse of the Military Junta of 1967–1974 and the re-establishment of democracy in 3 September 1974 . Its founder was Andreas Papandreou, son of the late Greek liberal leader and three-times Prime Minister of Greece Georgios Papandreou Sr. Its founding mottos were "National Independence, Popular Sovereignty, Social Emancipation, Democratic Process." Andreas Papandreou was offered the leadership of the liberal political forces immediately after the restoration of Democracy, but in a risky move he declined, so the leadership was assumed by Georgios Mavros. Papandreou, a very powerful orator and charismatic leader, explicitly rejected the ideological heritage of his father, and stressed the fact that he was a socialist, not a liberal.

The First Years[edit]

At the November 1974 elections the Party received only 13.5% of the vote and won 15 seats (out of 300), coming third behind the centre-right New Democracy of Konstantinos Karamanlis and the Centre Union – New Forces (EK-ND) of Georgios Mavros. At the November 1977 elections, however, the PASOK eclipsed the EK-ND, doubled its share of the vote and won 92 seats, becoming the main opposition party.

In Government[edit]

At the October 1981 national elections the PASOK won a landslide victory with 48% of the vote and capturing 173 seats; it formed the first socialist government in the history of Greece since 1924. Although Papandreou had campaigned for withdrawal of Greece from NATO and the European Economic Community, after a strong request by the rest of the party members and its supporters, changed his policy towards both institutions. He proved to be an excellent negotiator when it came to securing benefits and subsidies for Greece from the EEC. For example, in 1985 he openly threatened Jacques Delors to veto the entry of Spain and Portugal in the Community in order to secure more monetary aid for Greece.[12]

In 1986, the PASOK government amended the Greek constitution to remove most powers from the President and give wider authority to the Prime Minister and the Executive Government. Civil marriages, not consecrated by religious ceremony, were recognized as equally valid with religious weddings. The left-wing Resistance movement against the Axis in World War II was recognized after, and leftist resistance fighters were given state pensions, while political refugees of the Greek Civil War were finally given permission to return to Greece. The National Health System was created and various repressive laws of the anti-communist postwar establishment were abolished, wages were boosted, an independent and multidimensional foreign policy was pursued, many reforms in Family Law to strengthened the rights of women and the Greek Gendarmerie was abolished in 1984.[13] At the June 1985 elections, received 46% of the vote and won 161 seats, thus securing a stable parliamentary majority for its second term in power.

It continued to be popular for much of its second term, especially in March 1987 when Andreas Papandreou vigorously and successfully handled a crisis in the Aegean with Turkey. By late 1988 however, both the government's popularity and Papandreou's health had declined. The former, because of press reports of financial and corruption scandals that surfaced, implicating Ministers and, allegedly, Andreas Papandreou himself as well as because of fiscal austerity measures imposed after the Keynesian policies of the first term. PASOK lost the June 1989 elections with 40% of the vote while the opposing New Democracy got 44,3%. The PASOK had changed the electoral law before the elections, making it harder for the leading party to form a majority government, so the legislature was deadlocked. Its share of the vote in June 1989 was not considered a failure; for months there was a concerted mudslinging aiming the party (mainly by the conservative press) .

Another election in November produced a very similar result. After a brief period of a grand coalition government, in which the PASOK participated, a third election in April 1990 brought New Democracy back to power. Despite a 7% lead in popular vote over the PASOK, New Democracy could only secure a marginal majority in the Hellenic Parliament, electing 152 MPs out of a total of 300; The PASOK had secured a larger number of representatives on a lower percentage of votes, as well as a smaller lead, in the elections of 1985, under the previous electoral system. Its representation in the Parliament shrunk to 121 MPs in 1990.

In opposition, the PASOK underwent a leadership crisis when Andreas Papandreou was prosecuted over his supposed involvement in the Bank of Crete scandal. He was eventually acquitted and, in a dramatic reversal of fortunes, at the October 1993 elections he led the Party to another landslide victory. He returned to office with 47% of the vote and his re-election was considered by many a vote of confidence of the public against his prosecution. In November 1995, however, Papandreou's health began to deteriorate and the Party was racked with leadership conflicts.

The "Modernization" Period[edit]

Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece in the Socialist International conference
Costas Simitis with then former Russian President Vladimir Putin and Romano Prodi.

In January 1996 Andreas Papandreou retired after a protracted three-month long hospitalization, during which he retained the role of Prime Minister; he died six months later. He was succeeded by Costas Simitis, the candidate of the modernising, pro-European wing of PASOK (the so-called "modernizers", εκσυγχρονιστές), who won an internal vote against Akis Tsochatzopoulos, a Papandreou's confidant. In the first days following his election, Costas Simitis faced the biggest crisis in Greek politics for over 20 years, with the Imia crisis. He was criticized for his soft stance against Turkey and especially for praising in public the American intervention on the issue .

In a PASOK Conference in the summer of 1996, following Andreas Papandreou's death, Costas Simitis was elected leader of the Party and called early elections seeking a renewed public vote of confidence. Although the Imia crisis had somewhat tarnished his image, the country's economic prosperity and his matter-of-fact administration won him the September 1996 general election with a 41.5% of the vote. Under Costas Simitis' leadership, the PASOK had two major successes: In September 1997 Greece won the right to stage the 2004 Summer Olympic Games and in 2001 it was confirmed that the country would be included in the Eurozone, for which it had failed to meet the convergence criteria in 1998. Costas Simitis won another term in April 2000, narrowly winning with 43.8% of the vote and 158 seats: a substantial achievement for a Party which had been in power almost continuously for nearly 20 years.

In 2000, after the assassination of Brigadier Saunders by the terrorist group 17 November (17N), and especially with the forthcoming Athens Olympics being a major terrorist target, a significant international pressure was exerted on the PASOK to recognise that Greece had a terrorist problem and do everything possible to bring the terrorist group to justice. Some amongst the western media had even falsely accusing the party of colluding with the terrorists, due to the fact that the authorities were unable to arrest the terrorists. Under the guidance of British and US experts, the government intensified its efforts and finally, with a string of events starting at 29 June 2002, the 17N members were captured and put to trial.

Nevertheless, the party was losing its traditional appeal to the Greek lower and middle classes. In order to revitalize the party's chances for the next elections, Costas Simitis announced his resignation as the leader of the party on 7 January 2004 . He was succeeded by George Papandreou, son of Andreas Papandreou. The party members were expecting that Papandreou could reverse the slide in the opinion polls which saw the opposition New Democracy (ND), under Kostas Karamanlis, 7% ahead at the start of the year.

Although Papandreou reduced ND's lead in the polls to 3%, was unable to reverse the view of a majority of Greek voters that the PASOK had been in power too long and had grown lazy, corrupt and had abandoned the inclusive, progressive principles of economic parity on which it was founded. ND had a comfortable win at the legislative elections of 7 March 2004, placing the party in opposition after eleven years in office with 40.55% share of the vote and 117 seats.

2007 Elections[edit]

PASOK electoral campaign kiosk in Athens in 2007

On 16 September 2007, New Democracy headed by Costas Karamanlis won re-election with a marginal majority of 152 seats in the Parliament. Despite ND's falling performance in the Greek legislative election, 2007, the PASOK suffered a crushing defeat, registering 38.1% of the vote, its lowest percentage in almost 30 years, and 102 seats in the Hellenic Parliament.

The dismal result led to activation of the procedure to select new leadership, or to reaffirm the previous one. The main competitors for the leadership were the incumbent George Papandreou and the Party's informal second in command, Professor Evangelos Venizelos, M.P. for Thessaloniki. M.P. Kostas Skandalidis also announced his candidacy in September. According to Party regulation, leaders are elected in a voting process open to all members. During the leadership election of 11 November 2007 George Papandreou was re-elected by the friends and members of the Party as its leader .

2009 Elections[edit]

Legislative election 2009 results map. Green denotes those won by PASOK.
A political rally organized by the Panhellenic Socialism Movement in Thessaloniki

In June 2009, the PASOK won the 2009 European Parliament election in Greece .[14][15] Four months later, the Party enjoyed a resounding victory in the October 2009 general elections with 43.92% of the popular vote to ND's 33.48%, and 160 parliament seats to 91.[16] Due to a number of defections and expulsions after 2009, PASOK by November 2011 held a slim majority of 152 of the parliament's 300 seats.[17]

A poll in October 2011 on behalf of the Greek TV channel Skai TV and the newspaper Kathimerini(after the necessary austerity measures that were taken to tackle the financial crisis) however, revealed that of the people asked, 92% felt disappointed by the government while only 5% believe that a PASOK government would be best for the country in the next elections.[18] In the same survey, when asked about whether people have a positive or negative opinion of the various Greek political parties, the PASOK scored as the lowest, with 76% answering "negative" .It should be acknowledged that all the parties had strongly negative assessments.[18] The same survey showed that the support on the PASOK if elections were to be held, would be 22.5%,[18] the lowest since 1977,[19] while gaining only 53–77 seats.[18]

2012 Elections[edit]

PASOK members of the Greek parliament during the discussion of the 2009 budget

Because of the financial crisis and the measures that were taken by the party from 2009 to 2012, PASOK, having been the largest Party in the outgoing coalition government, achieved only third place with a mere 13,18%, retaining just 41 seats.[20]

After the elections of 6 May 2012, the President of Greece, Karolos Papoulias, mandated New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras to form a coalition government. On 7 May 2012, Samaras gave up the attempt and on the following day, President Papoulias mandated Alexis Tsipras, president of the Synaspismos political party and head of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) parliamentary group. After Tsipras was also unable to form a government, Evangelos Venizelos was mandated, but he too had no success. The legislative elections of June 2012 resulted in a further reduction in PASOK's popular support, probably as a result of the unpopular memorandum signed by former Prime Minister George Papandreou with the IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank. PASOK's percentage of the vote was its worst ever showing, since the party was formed (12,28%). However PASOK decided to help the formation of a government by joining with New Democracy as well as the Democratic Left of Fotis Kouvelis in a coalition under Prime Minister Samaras.

To contest the 2014 European election, PASOK founded the Olive Tree electoral alliance on 7 March 2014.[21][22][23] In the May 2014 European elections, the Olive Tree list came in fourth place nationally, receiving 8.02% of the vote, electing 2 MEPs.[24][25]

Ideology[edit]

The Panhellenic Socialist Movement is a social-democratic party, and a member of the Socialist International,[9] the Progressive Alliance, and the Party of European Socialists.

During Andreas Papandreou's leadership, wages were substantially boosted and capital gains were progressively taxed. At the very beginning, the members and the leadership of the party, were very critical of NATO and the European Economic Community, but this attitude was soon abandoned and the Greek participation in EEC was enforced. Andreas Papandreou wished to create a world where wealth and power would be shared by more countries than just the United States.

After Andreas Papandreou's death, Costas Simitis was elected as President of the PASOK which represented the centre-left and centrist factions of the movement and he moved to modernize the party, making it purely social democratic . Tight fiscal policies, privatization of state enterprises and a broadening of the tax base (by shifting the tax burden to the lower quintiles) were implemented. As a result of these policies, the party was defeated at the polls in the election of 2004. The strictly neoliberal New Democracy policies adopted by the new government, forced the PASOK to turn left under the promising leadership of George Papandreou. Five years later, the Party triumphed in 2009 elections..

After the 2009 electoral sweep, expectations ran high. However, it very quickly emerged that the deficit that had run up in the years leading to 2010 was of an enormous, unmanageable scope. Greece was faced with imminent insolvency – would be unable to either make current debt payments or borrow to fund government obligations unless it received urgent large loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB). In exchange for further loans, the European Union required neoliberal austerity policies. Such austerity measures included further privatization of state enterprises, further salary cuts, and heavier taxation of working and middle class citizens.

Party Leaders[edit]

Electoral Performance in Parliamentary Elections since 1974[edit]

Year Party Leader Number of votes Percentage of votes Seats in the
Hellenic Parliament
Position in Parliament
1974
Andreas Papandreou
666,413
13.6%
12 / 300
Minor opposition party
1977
Andreas Papandreou
1,300,025
25.3%
93 / 300
Main opposition party
1981
Andreas Papandreou
2,726,309
48.1%
172 / 300
Government
1985
Andreas Papandreou
2,916,735
45.8%
161 / 300
Government
1989-I
Andreas Papandreou
2,551,518
39.1%
125 / 300
Main opposition party
1989-II
Andreas Papandreou
2,724,334
40.7%
128 / 300
Member of an all-party coalition government
1990
Andreas Papandreou
2,543,042
38.6%
123 / 300
Main opposition party
1993
Andreas Papandreou
3,234,777
46.9%
170 / 300
Government
1996
Costas Simitis
2,813,245
41.5%
162 / 300
Government
2000
Costas Simitis
3,007,596
43.8%
158 / 300
Government
2004
George A. Papandreou
3,002,531
40.6%
117 / 300
Main opposition party
2007
George A. Papandreou
2,727,853
38.10%
102 / 300
Main opposition party
2009
George A. Papandreou
3,012,373
43.92%
160 / 300
Government/Member of the Coalition Cabinet of Lucas Papademos since 11/11/2011
2012-I
Evangelos Venizelos
831,181
13.18%
41 / 300
Member of a coalition government
2012-II
Evangelos Venizelos
755,832
12.28%
33 / 300
Member of a coalition government

European Parliament[edit]

Election year # of overall votes  % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/- Notes
1981 2,278,030 40.1 (#1)
10 / 24
1984 2,476,491 41.6 (#1)
10 / 24
Steady 0
1989 2,352,271 35.9 (#2)
9 / 24
Decrease 1
1994 2,458,619 37.6 (#1)
10 / 25
Increase 1
1999 2,115,844 32.9 (#2)
9 / 25
Decrease 1
2004 2,083,327 34.0 (#2)
8 / 24
Decrease 1
2009 1,878,859 36.6 (#1)
8 / 22
Steady 0
2014 377,438 8.02 (#4)1
2 / 21
Decrease 6

1 Participated in the party coalition Olive Tree.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
  2. ^ Μητρόπουλος, Αλέξης Π. [1] Το... μέλλον του ΠΑΣΟΚ [Τhe... future of PASOK], Ελευθεροτυπία, 20 November 2011.
  3. ^ Νταβανέλλος, Αντώνης [2] Η σοσιαλδημοκρατία στην εποχή του σοσιαλφιλελευθερισμού: Ποιο μέλλον έχει το ΠΑΣΟΚ; [Social democracy in the age of social liberalism: What is the future of PASOK?], Διεθνιστική Εργατική Αριστερά, 25 January 2012.
  4. ^ The counselors of the Regions.
  5. ^ Dimitrakopoulos, Dionyssis G.; Passas, Argyris G. (2011), "The Panhellenic Socialist Movement and European integration: The primacy of the leader", Social democracy and European integration (Taylor & Francis): 117–156 
  6. ^ Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko; Matti Mälkiä (2007). Encyclopedia of Digital Government. Idea Group Inc (IGI). pp. 398–. ISBN 978-1-59140-790-4. 
  7. ^ Dimitri Almeida (2012). The Impact of European Integration on Political Parties: Beyond the Permissive Consensus. Routledge. pp. 61–. ISBN 978-0-415-69374-5. 
  8. ^ "Καταστατικό ΠΑΣΟΚ" (PDF) (in Greek). ΠΑΣΟΚ. Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "MEMBER PARTIES of the SOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL". Socialist International. Retrieved 8 November 2011. "Greece Panhellenic Socialist Movement, PASOK" 
  10. ^ http://progressive-alliance.info/2013/05/22/leipzig-expected-participants/
  11. ^ http://www.pes.eu/parties
  12. ^ Richard Clogg, Parties and Elections in Greece, 1987
  13. ^ Richard Clogg, a Concise History of Greece, 2002
  14. ^ "European election results 2009 for Greece". Results of the 2009 European Elections. Ministry of Internal Affairs. Retrieved 6 October 2009. 
  15. ^ "PASOK Wins EP Elections – Abstention Rate High". ERT (ert.gr). 8 June 2009. Retrieved 6 October 2009. [dead link]
  16. ^ "Greek legislative election, 2009 results". Results of the 2009 Greek legislative elections. Ministry of Internal Affairs. Retrieved 6 October 2009. [dead link]
  17. ^ "Βουλευτές – Ανά Κοινοβουλευτική Ομάδα" [MPs – By Parliamentary Group]. hellenicparliament.gr. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  18. ^ a b c d "Πολιτικό Βαρόμετρο 95 – Οκτώβριος 2011". Public Issue (skai.gr). October 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  19. ^ "Public Issue: Σε αδιέξοδο η κοινωνία, δημοσκοπική κατάρρευση για ΠΑΣΟΚ". Skai TV (skai.gr). October 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  20. ^ "Greece set for deadlock". en.europeonline-magazine.eu. 7 May 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  21. ^ http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_08/03/2014_538011
  22. ^ http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/news/sections/politics/2014/03/07/Greece-UE-elections-Pasok-alarm-slide-opinion-poll_10195402.html
  23. ^ http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_06/03/2014_537960
  24. ^ http://ekloges.ypes.gr/may2014/e/public/index.html
  25. ^ http://www.balcanicaucaso.org/eng/Regions-and-countries/Greece/European-elections-in-Greece-SYRIZA-wins-the-government-resists-152539
  • Dimitris Michalopoulos, "PASOK and the Eastern Block", in Greece under Socialism, New Rochelle, New York: Orpheus Publishing Inc., 1988, pp. 339–337. ISBN 0-89241-460-X

External links[edit]