Greece THE RISE AND FALL OF PAPANDREOU AND PASOK
Source: The Library of Congress Country Studies
By the election of 1981, electoral momentum had shifted away from an uninspired ND to the promise of change offered by a newly moderate PASOK. For the next eight years, Papandreou applied his program to society and the economy, with mixed results.
In 1980 Karamanlis elevated himself to the presidency, leaving the lackluster Georgios Rallis as the incumbent prime minister in the next year's election. In the election of October 1981, PASOK and Papandreou swept into power with 48 percent of the popular vote and 172 seats in parliament. The ND, which could not match Papandreou's charisma or the novelty of PASOK's program, finished a distant second with 36 percent of the vote and 115 seats, and the KKE came in third with 11 percent and thirteen seats.
Between the 1977 and 1981 elections, PASOK and its leader had continued the move away from an initial image as a Marxism-based, class-oriented party, in order to reassure centrist voters. The "privileged" class against which Papandreou ran in 1981 had shrunk considerably to a small number of Greece's most wealthy citizens. The societal results of the "change" were left deliberately vague. The election result meant that, for the first time in Greek history, an explicitly left-wing party held the reigns of government. The transformation from authoritarian rule to democracy was finally complete.
Data as of December 1994
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