The qualities that make Simitis a strong leader include his ability to form consensus among the factionalized PASOK and his moderate style. After coming to power Simitis pursued a policy of compromise and moderation vis-à-vis his former opponents in PASOK. He carefully avoids confrontation, seeks dialogue, and tries to present himself as a pragmatic and realistic leader.
Simitis's success as a leader was dependent upon his ability to reform PASOK. To do so he had to placate both ex-Papandreou followers and the more conservative elements in the party. While the ideological gap was quite large, Simitis has demonstrated his leadership skills in bringing the factions together.
First, he has offered ministerial positions to both factions of PASOK. For example, he named his chief rival, Akis Tsokhatzopoulos, to the important position of minister of defense. He appointed another rival, Gerasimos Arsenis, minister of education. George Papandreou, the former prime minister's son, was also given a cabinet position. Clearly Simitis was striving to maintain unity in his party, while simultaneously moving it closer to the center of the political spectrum.
Simitis has carefully implemented a policy of reform, thus undermining the platform of the main opposition party (New Democracy—ND). He has revamped his party's policies so that PASOK and New Democracy now agree on many major issues facing the country. By doing this, Simitis has effectively undercut ND's potential ammunition against his party.
Although lacking Andreas Papandreou's charisma, Simitis has smoothly transformed the political balance, both within PASOK and Greek politics at large, by shifting power to the reformist side. As a man uncomfortable with public attention, Simitis has managed to avoid the disruptive factional tensions that had long haunted PASOK.