Just as he had promised in his pre-election campaign, Greece’s new Prime Minister, George Papandreou, and his Pan-Hellenic Socialist Party (PASOK) colleagues have hit the ground running since claiming victory in the October 4 polls, and their work ethic and determination seems to be making a big impression on their constituents.

“The way Mr Papandreou is handling his first days in office [is] reminding me a lot of (US President) Barack Obama, he has given the people of Greece renewed hope that we can have a bright future,” said Maria Papastamatiou, a 42-year-old advertising executive.

Ms Papastamatiou, who has voted PASOK all her life, believes that the new Prime Minister is the right man to lead Greece.

“What we need in this country is strong and responsible leadership, and so far Mr Papandreou is showing he can be the man for that job,” Ms Papastamatiou added.

The likeness to Barack Obama is also evident to Emily Kotsolia, a 24-year-old Greek American airline hostess, now living permanently in Athens.

“I was back home in the US last November for the elections and the way Mr Obama sparked the interest of the whole country it was amazing, now here Mr Papandreou, with his optimism and positive messages, I feel is doing the same for the young people of Greece,” said Ms Kotsolia. Others too have been impressed by Mr Papandreou’s first days.
“So far I have been impressed by his speeches and comments and what appears to be a desire to make a difference.

“The truth is though we will not be able to tell just how successful or productive all this will be for some time, but I live in hope that Mr Papandreou will set Greece off in the right direction,” said Dimitris Vogiatzis, a 31-year-old accountant.

The PASOK leader’s attempt to reach out to all Greeks, regardless of political affiliations, has also made an impression.

“Although I voted for the Greens party, I was hopeful that PASOK would beat New Democracy and I was happy to see Mr Papandreou offer members of the Greens party an opportunity to participate in his government, particularly when it comes to issues relating to the environment,” said Despoina Platanaki, a 21-year-old marketing student, who has also been impressed by Mr Papandreous and his cabinet ministers walking from their ministries to parliament.

“I noticed that Mr Papandreou and a number of the new ministers were walking to and from parliament in an effort to do their bit for the environment, combined with PASOK’s decision not to print off large runs of political posters and Mr Papandreou consistently talking about climate change, I feel these small moves are sending the right message to the Greek people,” Ms Platanaki added.