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Panhellenic Socialist Movement

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Title: Panhellenic Socialist Movement  
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Subject: Greek local elections, 2010, Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights, Ministry of the Interior and Administrative Reconstruction, Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy (Greece), Greek legislative election, June 2012
Collection: 1970S in Greek Politics, 1974 Establishments in Greece, 1980S in Greek Politics, 1990S in Greek Politics, 2000S in Greek Politics, 2010S in Greek Politics, Irredentism, Panhellenic Socialist Movement, Party of European Socialists Member Parties, Political Parties Established in 1974, Progressive Alliance, Social Democratic Parties, Social Democratic Parties in Greece, Socialist International
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Panhellenic Socialist Movement

Panhellenic Socialist Movement
Πανελλήνιο Σοσιαλιστικό Κίνημα
Abbreviation PASOK
President Fofi Gennimata
Secretary Nikos Androulakis
Founder Andreas Papandreou
Slogan together we give solutions
Founded 3 September 1974
Headquarters Xarilaou Trikoupi 50,10680, Athens, Greece
Youth wing PASOK Youth
Ideology Social democracy[1]
Social liberalism[2][3]

Political position Centre-left[4]
National affiliation Olive Tree (2014)
Democratic Coalition (2015)
International affiliation Progressive Alliance
Socialist International
European affiliation Party of European Socialists
European Parliament group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Colours      Green
Parliament Within the Democratic Coalition Parliamentary Group
European Parliament
2 / 21
105 / 725
Politics of Greece
Political parties

The Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Greek: Πανελλήνιο Σοσιαλιστικό Κίνημα, IPA: ), known mostly by its acronym PASOK (Greek: ΠΑΣΟΚ, pronounced ), is a social-democratic[6][7] political party in Greece and one of country's major electoral forces between 1977 and 2012 elections.

It was founded on 3 September 1974 by Andreas Papandreou as a democratic socialist and Left-wing nationalist party.[8] As a result of the 1981 legislative election, PASOK became Greece's first left-of-centre party to win a majority in the Hellenic Parliament.

Formerly one of the two major parties in Greek politics, it have lost much of its popular support as a result of the First Greek bailout package with the European troika. The party was a part of the two coalition governments from 2011 to 2015 during which unprecedented austerity measures was taken in responds to crisis. In the Hellenic Parliament PASOK went from being the largest party with 160 mandates (43.92% of the popular vote) in the 2009 election to being the smallest party with 13 mandates (4.7% of the popular vote) in the January 2015 election, which later rose to 17 mandates (6.3% of the popular vote) in the September 2015 election.


  • History 1
    • Foundation 1.1
    • The first years 1.2
    • In government 1.3
    • The "modernization" period 1.4
    • George Papandreou leadership 1.5
    • Since the government debt crisis 1.6
    • 2015 legislative elections 1.7
  • International and European links 2
  • Party leaders 3
  • Election results 4
    • Hellenic Parliament 4.1
    • European Parliament 4.2
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7



The first members of the party were the main organizers of the collapse of the 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

At the November 1977 elections, however, PASOK eclipsed the EK-ND, doubled its share of the vote and won 92 seats, becoming the main opposition party.

In government

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.[9]

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.[10] 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 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 received 44.3%. 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 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 Hellenic 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. Its representation in the Parliament shrunk to 121 MPs in 1990.

In opposition, 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. Papandreou 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

Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece in the Socialist International conference
Costas Simitis with 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 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 held 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, 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 17 November (17N), and especially with the forthcoming Athens Olympics being a major terrorist target, a significant international pressure was exerted on 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 U.S. 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.

George Papandreou leadership

Nevertheless, the party was losing its traditional appeal to the Greek lower and middle 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 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 2004 legislative elections held on 7 March 2004, placing the party in opposition after eleven years in office with 40.55% share of the vote and 117 seats.

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 2007 legislative election, 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 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.

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.[11][12] 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.[13] 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.[14]

Since the government debt crisis

PASOK loss of support ahead of the 2012 election.

A poll in October 2011 on behalf of the Greek TV channel Skai TV and the newspaper Kathimerini (after the austerity measures that were taken to tackle the financial crisis) revealed that of the people asked, 92% felt disappointed by the government while only 5% believed that a PASOK government would be best for the nation in the next elections.[15] In the same survey, when asked about whether people have a positive or negative opinion of the various political parties in Greece, PASOK scored as the lowest, with 76% answering "negative".[15]

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.[16]

After the elections of 6 May 2012, the New Democracy (ND) as well as the Democratic Left (DIMAR) 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.[17][18][19] In the May 2014 European elections, the Olive Tree list came in fourth place nationally, receiving 8.02% of the vote, electing 2 MEPs.[20][21]

On 29 December 2014, following the failure of the government to elect a presidential candidate, a snap January 2015 legislative election was called by Prime Minister Samaras, scheduled for 25 January 2015.[22][23]

2015 legislative elections

On 2 January 2015, in the run-up to the legislative election, former Prime Minister and PASOK leader George Papandreou announced the formation of a breakaway party called Movement of Democratic Socialists (KIDISO),[24][25][26] a move immediately condemned by PASOK officials.[27][28] Five PASOK members of the Hellenic Parliament were expected to join the new party, including the former ministers Philippos Sachinidis and Dimitris Reppas.[29]

In the 25 January 2015 legislative election, PASOK received 4.7% of the vote, with mandate for 13 seats in the Hellenic Parliament.[30]

On 30 August 2015, ahead of the upcoming September snap election, PASOK announced an electoral alliance with DIMAR, dubbed the Democratic Coalition.[31][32][33]

In the September 2015 legislative election on 20 September 2015, the PASOK–DIMAR list received 6.3% of the vote, and 17 seats.[34]

International and European links

PASOK is a member of the Socialist International,[35] the Progressive Alliance[36] and the Party of European Socialists.[37] PASOK MEPs sit with the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group in the European Parliament.

Party leaders

# Leader Portrait Term of office Prime Minister
1 Andreas Papandreou 3 September 1974 23 June 1996† 1981–1989
2 Costas Simitis 30 June 1996 8 February 2004 1996–2004
3 George Papandreou 8 February 2004 18 March 2012 2009–2011
4 Evangelos Venizelos 18 March 2012 14 June 2015
5 Fofi Gennimata 14 June 2015 Incumbent

Election results

Hellenic Parliament

Election Hellenic Parliament Rank Government Leader
Votes % ±pp Seats won +/−
1974 666,413 13.6% New
12 / 300
Increase12 #3 Opposition Andreas Papandreou
1977 1,300,025 25.3% Increase11.7
93 / 300
Increase81 #2 Opposition Andreas Papandreou
1981 2,726,309 48.1% Increase22.8
172 / 300
Increase79 #1 Majority gov't Andreas Papandreou
1985 2,916,735 45.8% Decrease2.3
161 / 300
Decrease11 #1 Majority gov't Andreas Papandreou
06/1989 2,551,518 39.1% Decrease6.7
125 / 300
Decrease36 #2 Opposition Andreas Papandreou
11/1989 2,724,334 40.7% Increase1.6
128 / 300
Increase3 #2 National unity gov't
Andreas Papandreou
1990 2,543,042 38.6% Decrease2.1
123 / 300
Decrease5 #2 Opposition Andreas Papandreou
1993 3,235,017 46.9% Increase8.3
170 / 300
Increase47 #1 Majority gov't Andreas Papandreou
1996 2,814,779 41.5% Decrease5.4
162 / 300
Decrease8 #1 Majority gov't Costas Simitis
2000 3,007,596 43.8% Increase2.3
158 / 300
Decrease4 #1 Majority gov't Costas Simitis
2004 3,003,988 40.5% Decrease3.3
117 / 300
Decrease41 #2 Opposition George Papandreou
2007 2,727,279 38.1% Decrease2.4
102 / 300
Decrease15 #2 Opposition George Papandreou
2009 3,012,373 43.9% Increase5.8
160 / 300
Increase58 #1 Majority gov't George Papandreou
05/2012 833,452 13.2% Decrease30.7
41 / 300
Decrease119 #3 Interim gov't
Evangelos Venizelos
06/2012 756,024 12.3% Decrease0.9
33 / 300
Decrease8 #3 Coalition gov't
Evangelos Venizelos
01/2015 289,469 4.7% Decrease7.6
13 / 300
Decrease20 #7 Opposition Evangelos Venizelos
09/2015 w. Democratic Coalition
16 / 300
Increase3 #4 Opposition Fofi Gennimata

European Parliament

European Parliament
Election Votes % ±pp Seats won +/− Rank Leader
1981 2,278,030 40.1% New
10 / 24
Increase10 #1 Andreas Papandreou
1984 2,476,491 41.6% Increase1.5
10 / 24
±0 #1 Andreas Papandreou
1989 2,352,271 35.9% Decrease5.7
9 / 24
Decrease1 #2 Andreas Papandreou
1994 2,458,619 37.6% Increase1.7
10 / 25
Increase1 #1 Andreas Papandreou
1999 2,115,844 32.9% Decrease4.7
9 / 25
Decrease1 #2 Costas Simitis
2004 2,083,327 34.0% Increase1.1
8 / 24
Decrease1 #2 George Papandreou
2009 1,878,859 36.6% Increase2.6
8 / 22
±0 #1 George Papandreou
2014A 458,403 8.0% Decrease28.6
2 / 21
Decrease6 #4 Evangelos Venizelos

A Contested as Olive Tree.

See also


  1. ^ 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. ^
  5. ^ The counselors of the Regions.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Richard Clogg, Parties and Elections in Greece, 1987
  10. ^ Richard Clogg, a Concise History of Greece, 2002
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  • 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

  • Official website (Greek)
  • Official Website of M.P. George Papandreou (Greek)
  • Official Website of M.P. Evangelos Venizelos (Greek)
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