Panhellenic Socialist Movement: Wikis


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Πανελλήνιο Σοσιαλιστικό Κίνημα
Panellinio Sosialistikó Kínima
Panhellenic Socialist Movement
Leader George Papandreou Jr.
Founded 3 September 1974
Headquarters 22, Ippokratous St.,
106 80 Athens
Ideology Social democracy,
Political position Centre-left
International affiliation Socialist International
European affiliation Party of European Socialists
European Parliament Group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Official colours Green
Politics of Greece
Political parties

The Panhellenic Socialist Movement, better known as PASOK (Greek: Πανελλήνιο Σοσιαλιστικό Κίνημα, Panellinio Sosialistikó Kínima, ΠΑΣΟΚ), is a Greek centre-left political party. In 1981 PASOK formed the first socialist government in Greece's history, and subsequently governed the country for most of the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. PASOK has served as the main opposition party since the general election of 2004. It is a member of the Party of European Socialists and the Socialist International. In the European Parliament it has 8 out of 22 Greek MEPs. On 31 January 2006, the party's president, George Papandreou, was elected President of the Socialist International, the worldwide organisation of social democratic, socialist and labour parties. Following the 2009 legislative election, PASOK became the majority party in the next session of Parliament and Papandreou was chosen to be the next Prime Minister.





PASOK was established on 3 September 1974 following the restoration of Greek democracy after the collapse of the military dictatorship of 1967-1974. Its founder was Andreas Papandreou, son of the late Greek centrist leader George Papandreou, Sr. Its founding mottos were "National Independence, Popular Sovereignty, Social Emancipation, Democratic Process."

The first years

At the November 1974 elections PASOK received only 13.5% of the vote and won 15 seats (out of 300), coming third behind the center-right New Democracy party of Konstantinos Karamanlis and the centrist Center Union - New Forces of George Mavros. At the November 1977 elections, however, PASOK eclipsed the centrists, doubled its share of the vote and won 92 seats, becoming the main opposition party.

In government

At the October 1981 national elections 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, he rapidly changed his policy towards both institutions.

In 1985 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. At the June 1985 elections PASOK got 45% of the vote and won 161 seats, thus securing a stable parliamentary majority for its second term in power. By 1988 both the government's popularity and Papandreou's health had declined. The former, due to a series of financial and corruption scandals that surfaced, implicating Ministers and, allegedly, Papandreou himself as well as due to fiscal austerity measures imposed after the destabilising Keynesian policies of the first term. Not surprisingly, PASOK lost the June 1989 elections with 40% of the vote while the opposing New Democracy got 45%. PASOK had changed the electoral law a year before elections, making it harder for the leading party to form a majority government, so the legislature was deadlocked. Another election in November produced a very similar result. After a brief period of a grand coalition government, in which PASOK participated, a third election in April 1990 brought New Democracy back to power. Despite a 7% lead in popular vote over PASOK, New Democracy could only secure a marginal majority in the parliament, electing 152 MPs out of a total of 300; 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. PASOK's representation in parliament shrunk to 121 MPs in 1990.

In opposition PASOK underwent a leadership crisis when Papandreou was prosecuted over his alleged involvement in the Bank of Crete scandal. He was eventually acquitted and, in a reversal of fortunes, at the October 1993 elections he led PASOK to another landslide victory. PASOK returned to office with 46.9% of the vote. His re-election was considered by many a vote of confidence of the public against his prosecution. In 1995, however, Papandreou's health began to deteriorate and PASOK was racked with leadership conflicts.

The 'modernization' period

In January 1996 Papandreou was forced to retire 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, who won an internal vote against Akis Tsohatzopoulos, a Papandreou confidant. In the first days following his election, Simitis faced the biggest crisis in Greek politics for over 20 years, the Imia crisis. Simitis was criticized for his soft stance against Turkey and especially for praising in public the American intervention.

In a PASOK conference in the summer of 1996, following Papandreou's death, Simitis was elected leader of the Party and called early elections seeking a renewed public vote of confidence. Although the Imia incident had somewhat tarnished his image, the country's economic prosperity and his matter-of-fact administration won him the September 1996 general election with 41.5% of the vote. Under Simitis' leadership, PASOK had two major successes : In September 1997 Greece won the right to stage the 2004 Olympic Games and in 2001 it was confirmed that the country would be included in the Euro-zone, for which it had failed to meet the convergence criteria in 1998. 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, significant international pressure was exerted on PASOK authorities to recognise that Greece had a terrorist problem and secondly, to bring the terrorist group to justice. Some amongst the western media had even accused PASOK of colluding with 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, PASOK was losing its traditional appeal to the Greek lower and middle classes. In order to revitalize PASOK's chances for the next elections, Costas Simitis 7 January 2004 announced his resignation as leader of PASOK. He was succeeded by George Papandreou, son of Andreas Papandreou. PASOK hoped that Papandreou could reverse the slide in the opinion polls which saw the opposition New Democracy party, under Kostas Karamanlis, 7% ahead at the start of the year.

But although Papandreou reduced ND's lead in the polls to 3%, he was unable to reverse the view of a majority of Greek voters that PASOK had been in power too long and had grown lazy and corrupt. ND had a comfortable win at the 7 March elections, placing PASOK in opposition after eleven years in office with 40.55% share of the vote and 117 seats.

2007 parliamentary elections

PASOK electoral campaign kiosk in Athens in 2007

On 16 September 2007, the New Democracy party 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, PASOK suffered a crushing defeat, registering 38.1% of the vote, its lowest percentage in almost 30 years, and 102 seats in 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, MP for Thessaloniki. Kostas Skandalidis also announced his candidacy in September. According to party regulation, leaders are elected in a voting process open to all party members. During the leadership election of 11 November 2007 George Papandreou was re-elected by the friends and members of the party as the leader of PASOK.

2009 elections

In June 2009, PASOK won the 2009 European Parliament election in Greece.[1 ][2] 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.[3 ]

Party Organization

  • Party Congress, convened every two years
  • National Council: the ruling party institution in between congresses
    • Political council, 14 members elected by the National Council, plus the President and Secretary ex officio:
      • Tonia Antoniou
      • Nikos Androulakis
      • Fofi Gennimata
      • Kostas Askounis
      • Mihalis Karhimakis
      • Louka Katseli
      • Paris Koukoulopoulos
      • Giannis Koutsoukos
      • Panos Beglitis
      • Thanos Moraïtis
      • Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou
      • Konstantinos Rovlias
      • Giorgos Panagiotakopoulos
      • Sylvana Rapti
  • For the dialogue with the other parties of the left and promote the proposals of PASOK for Democracy and Political System designated responsible Kostas Skandalidis.


Party leaders

Electoral performance, Greek parliamentary elections 1974-2009

Year Party Leader Number of votes Percentage of votes Number of members in the Hellenic Parliament Position in Parliament
Andreas Papandreou
Minor opposition party
Andreas Papandreou
Main opposition party
Andreas Papandreou
Andreas Papandreou
Andreas Papandreou
Main opposition party
Andreas Papandreou
Member of an all-party coalition government
Andreas Papandreou
Main opposition party
Andreas Papandreou
Costas Simitis
Costas Simitis
George A. Papandreou
Main opposition party
George A. Papandreou
Main opposition party
George A. Papandreou

See also


  1. ^ "European election results 2009 for Greece". Results of the 2009 European Elections. Ministry of Internal Affairs. Retrieved 2009-10-06.  
  2. ^ "PASOK Wins EP Elections - Abstention Rate High". ERT ( 2009-06-08. Retrieved 2009-10-06.  
  3. ^ "Greek legislative election, 2009 results". Results of the 2009 Greek legislative elections. Ministry of Internal Affairs. Retrieved 2009-10-06.  
  • 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


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