Panhellenic Socialist Movement
Πανελλήνιο Σοσιαλιστικό Κίνημα
Leader Evangelos Venizelos
Secretary-General Nikos Androulakis
Founder Andreas Papandreou
Slogan Reconstitution
Your thought, our policy proposal
Founded 3 September 1974
Headquarters Athens
Youth wing PASOK Youth
Ideology Social democracy,[1][2][3][4][5][6]
Third Way,[1]
Social liberalism[7][8][9][10]
Political position Centre-left
International affiliation Socialist International,
Progressive Alliance
European affiliation Party of European Socialists
European Parliament group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Colours Green
Hellenic Parliament Template:Infobox political party/seats
Seats in the European Parliament Template:Infobox political party/seats
Regions[11] Template:Infobox political party/seats
Politics of Greece
Political parties

The Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Greek: Πανελλήνιο Σοσιαλιστικό Κίνημα, IPA: [paneˈlinio sosjalistiˈko ˈcinima]), known mostly by its acronym PA.SO.K. (Greek: ΠΑΣΟΚ, pronounced [paˈsok]), is a centre-left party.

It was founded on 3 September 1974 by Andreas Papandreou.[12] In 1981 the PA.SO.K. became Greece's first social democratic party to win a majority in the Hellenic Parliament.[13]

It is a member of the Socialist International, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats and the Party of European Socialists.[14]



The first members of the Party were the main organizers of the collapse of the Military Junta of 1967–1974 and the re-establishment of Democracy in 3 September 1974 . Its founder was Andreas Papandreou, son of the late Greek liberal leader and three times Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou Sr. . Its founding mottos were "National Independence, Popular Sovereignty, Social Emancipation, Democratic Process." Andreas Papandreou was offered the leadership of the liberal political forces immediately after the restoration of Democracy, but in a risky move he declined, so the leadership was assumed by Georgios Mavros. Papandreou, a very powerful orator and 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 1974 elections the Party 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 Georgios Mavros. At the November 1977 elections, however, the PA.SO.K. 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 the PA.SO.K. 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 .[15]

In 1986, the PA.SO.K. 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.[16] 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 vigorously and 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. PA.SO.K. lost the June 1989 elections with 40% of the vote while the opposing New Democracy got 44,3%. The PA.SO.K. 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 the PA.SO.K. participated, a third election in April 1990 brought New Democracy back to power. Despite a 7% lead in popular vote over the PA.SO.K., New Democracy could only secure a marginal majority in the Hellenic Parliament, electing 152 MPs out of a total of 300; The PA.SO.K. 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 M.P.s in 1990.

In opposition, the PA.SO.K. 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. He 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

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 the PA.SO.K. (the so-called "modernizers", εκσυγχρονιστές), who won an internal vote against Akis Tsochatzopoulos, a Papandreou's 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 PA.SO.K. Conference 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, the PA.SO.K. 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. 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 Brigadier Saunders by the terrorist group 17 November (17N), and especially with the forthcoming Athens Olympics being a major terrorist target, a significant international pressure was exerted on the PA.SO.K. 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 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, the Party was losing its traditional appeal to the Greek lower and middle classes. In order to revitalize the party's chances for the next elections, Costas Simitis announced his resignation as the leader of the party on 7 January 2004 . He was succeeded by George Papandreou, son of Andreas Papandreou . The party members were expecting that Papandreou could reverse the slide in the opinion polls which saw the opposition New Democracy (ND) Party, 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 the PA.SO.K. 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 7 March elections, placing the Party in opposition after eleven years in office with 40.55% share of the vote and 117 seats.

2007 Elections

On 16 September 2007, the ND 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, the PA.SO.K. 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 George Papandreou and the Party's informal second in command, Professor 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 .

2009 Elections

In June 2009, the PA.SO.K. won the 2009 European Parliament election in Greece .[17][18] 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.[19] Due to a number of defections and expulsions since 2009, PA.SO.K. (from 1 November 2011) helda slim majority of 152 of the parliament's 300 seats.[20]

A poll in October 2011 on behalf of the Greek TV channel Skai TV and the newspaper Kathimerini(after the necessary austerity measures that were taken to tackle the financial crisis) however, revealed that of the people asked, 92% felt disappointed by the government while only 5% believe that a PA.SO.K. government would be best for the country in the next elections.[21] In the same survey, when asked about whether people have a positive or negative opinion of the various Greek political Parties, the PA.SO.K. scored as the lowest, with 76% answering "negative" .It should be acknowledged that all the Parties had strongly negative assessments.[21] The same survey showed that the support on the PA.SO.K. if elections were to be held, would be 22.5%,[21] the lowest since 1977,[22] while gaining only 53–77 seats.[21]

2012 Elections

Because of the financial crisis and the measures that were taken by the Party from 2009 to 2012, the PA.SO.K. having been the largest Party in the outgoing coalition government, achieved the third place with just 13,18%, and retained just 41 seats.[23]

After the elections of 6 May 2012, the President of Greece Karolos Papoulias, mandated Antonis Samaras (ND) to form a coalition government. In 7 May 2012, Samaras gave up this try and the next day, the President mandated Alexis Tsipras president of the Synaspismos political Party and head of Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) parliamentary group. After Alexis Tsipras gave up the try, Evangelos Venizelos was mandated, without, however, being capable of forming a government. The legislative elections of June 2012 showed a significant reduce in PASOK' popular support due to the memorandum the former Prime minister George A. Papandreou signed with the IMF, European Commission and the European Central Bank. PASOK received the worst percentage from the day it was formed (12,28%). However, PASOK decided to help to the formation of a government with the New Democracy as well as the Democratic Left of Fotis Kouvelis. It supports now the government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.


The Panhellenic Socialist Movement is a social democratic party, member of the Socialist International, the Party of European Socialists and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats.[14]

During Andreas Papandreou's leadership, wages were substantially boosted and capital gains were progressively taxed. At the very beginning, the members and the leadership of the Party, were very critical of NATO and the European Economic Community, but this attitude was soon abandoned and the Greek participation in EEC was enforced. Andreas Papandreou wished to create a world where wealth and power would be shared by more countries than just the United States.

After Andreas Papandreou's death, Costas Simitis was elected as President of the PA.SO.K. which represented the centre-left and centrist factions of the Movement and he moved to modernize the Party, making it purely social democratic . Tight fiscal policies, privatization of state enterprises and a broadening of the tax base (by shifting the tax burden to the lower quintiles) were implemented. As a result of these policies, the Party was defeated at the polls in the election of 2004. The strictly neoliberal New Democracy policies adopted by the new government, forced the PA.SO.K. to turn left under the promising leadership of George Papandreou. Five years later, the Party triumphed in 2009 elections.

After the 2009 electoral sweep, expectations ran high. However, it very quickly emerged that the deficit that had run up in the years leading to 2010 was of an enormous, unmanageable scope. Greece was faced with imminent insolvency – would be unable to either make current debt payments or borrow to fund government obligations unless it received urgent large loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB). In exchange for further loans, the European Union required neoliberal austerity policies. Such austerity measures included further privatization of state enterprises, further salary cuts, and heavier taxation of working and middle class citizens.

Party Leaders

Electoral Performance in Parliamentary Elections since 1974

Year Party Leader Number of votes Percentage of votes Seats in the
Hellenic Parliament
Position in Parliament
Andreas Papandreou
Template:Infobox political party/seats
Minor opposition party
Andreas Papandreou
Template:Infobox political party/seats
Main opposition party
Andreas Papandreou
Template:Infobox political party/seats
Andreas Papandreou
Template:Infobox political party/seats
Andreas Papandreou
Template:Infobox political party/seats
Main opposition party
Andreas Papandreou
Template:Infobox political party/seats
Member of an all-party coalition government
Andreas Papandreou
Template:Infobox political party/seats
Main opposition party
Andreas Papandreou
Template:Infobox political party/seats
Costas Simitis
Template:Infobox political party/seats
Costas Simitis
Template:Infobox political party/seats
George A. Papandreou
Template:Infobox political party/seats
Main opposition party
George A. Papandreou
Template:Infobox political party/seats
Main opposition party
George A. Papandreou
Template:Infobox political party/seats(at start)
Template:Infobox political party/seats(at elections)
Government/Member of the Coalition Cabinet of Lucas Papademos since 11/11/2011
Evangelos Venizelos
Template:Infobox political party/seats
Member of a coalition government
Evangelos Venizelos
Template:Infobox political party/seats(at start)
Template:Infobox political party/seats(currently)
Member of a coalition government

European Parliament

Election year # of overall votes  % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/- Notes
1981 2,278,030 40.1 (#1) Template:Infobox political party/seats
1984 2,476,491 41.6 (#1) Template:Infobox political party/seats Steady 0
1989 2,352,271 35.9 (#2) Template:Infobox political party/seats Decrease 1
1994 2,458,619 37.6 (#1) Template:Infobox political party/seats Increase 1
1999 2,115,844 32.9 (#2) Template:Infobox political party/seats Decrease 1
2004 2,083,327 34.0 (#2) Template:Infobox political party/seats Decrease 1
2009 1,878,859 36.6 (#1) Template:Infobox political party/seats(at start)
Template:Infobox political party/seats(currently)
Steady 0

See also


  • 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 of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Greek)
  • Official Website of The Socialist International (English) - (French) - (Spanish)
  • Official Website of the Progressive Alliance of Social and Democrats (English) - (German) - (French) - (Spanish) - (Italian) - (Polish)
  • Official Website of the Party of European Socialists (English) - (French)
  • Official Website of M.P. George Papandreou (Greek)
  • Official Website of M.P. Evangelos Venizelos (Greek)

Template:Socialist International

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