The election of Greece's first Socialist prime minister last month resulted from a grassroots political organization that appealed strongly to workers and farmers, four Greek professors told about 25 people at the Center for European Studies yesterday.
Dissatisfaction with the almost one-party rule that the middle-of-the-road New Democracy Party had instituted and the "compelling personality" of newly elected Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou also contributed heavily to the switch in power, Roy Macridis, professor of political science at Brandeis, said.
Papandreou acquired a very strong national appeal, Macridis added, which came from "the very well-organized infrastructure of his party, Pasok [Panhellenic Socialist Movement]."
Amedeo Odoni, professor of aeronautics and astrophysics at MIT, said the New Democracy Party was not dealing with Greece's major economic problems, adding that people wanted a responsible party.
Papandreou established Pasok in 1974, and it garnered 13 per cent of the vote in that year. In 1981, Pasok captured 48 per cent of the vote, an example of "truly phenomenal growth," Odoni said, adding that young voters and residents of greater Athens changed allegiance to Pasok because of the New Democracy Party's inability to solve problems facing the city.
The speakers did not emphasize Papandreou's wish to leave the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and to close four U.S. military bases in Greece. Papandreou, who received his Ph.D. in economic from Harvard, has traditionally opposed American interference in Greek affairs.
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