TENSIONS AND QUARRELS among the major political parties often overshadow all other domestic issues within Greece. The parties play a crucial and long-established role in a political system that trades votes for favors ranging from building permits to public-sector jobs. To understand the intricacies of Greek politics, a knowledge of internal party dynamics as well as intraparty relations is crucial. Currently, a generational shift is occurring in Greek politics; important figures who have been around for decades are retiring or are likely to leave the political arena soon. The departure of such dramatis personae might spell trouble for their successors, who lack the same stature and prestige. In addition, the "dinosaurs," as many Greeks call them, are trying to place their family members - be they children or wives - on the political stage.

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