PASOK feeling the pressure

It’s been a tough week for the government. As if it didn’t have enough on its plate dealing with the fallout from the economic crisis, one of its ministers had to resign this week after her husband was discovered to be owing 5.5 million euros in taxes. This only fuelled specualtion that Prime Minister George Papandreou will conduct a reshuffle soon. The rumors were quashed today by government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis but the pressure is unlikely to go away.

The size of the task facing PASOK in convincing voters to place their faith in the center-left party was made evident by a Public Issue poll for Sunday’s Kathimerini, which showed the approval ratings for the socialists and the New Democracy opposition at an all-time low. Only 22 percent of Greeks appear to think the government is doing a good job handling the debt crisis. Just 8 percent are happy with the conservatives’ stance.

That’s why the revelation that the husband of Deputy Tourism and Culture Minister Angela Gerekou was being pursued for tax evasion could not have come at a worse time for the government. The fact that her other half is fading popular singer Tolis Voskopoulos spurred the media attention on the case. Gerekou’s swift resignations went some way to calming the situation but there are still some serious underlying political issues that remain wide open. I will be looking at these in my next post.

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