GREECE, ONE OF the birthplaces of democracy, is home to powerful leftist political forces that ruled the country almost continuously from 1981 to 2004. Although ousted from government in the March 2004 general elections, the socialist-led Greek left remains a potent source of generous patronage and a controversial symbol of runaway social spending and virulent anti-Americanism. Analysis of the left's recent evolution reveals two primary strains: 1) the difficulties of building party democracy when the party is a quasifamily dynasty, and 2) the pressures of trying to stay true to leftist ideology while simultaneously meeting the strict economic requirements of membership in the European Union (EU).

Throughout its modern history, Greece has struggled to consolidate democracy. Indeed, democracy in this cradle of ancient democratic political thought ...

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