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A.N.A. Bulletin, 27/08/96

From: "Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada" <grnewsca@sympatico.ca>

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 973), August 27, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] PASOK inaugurates "new-style" election campaign

  • [2] Simitis to announce PASOK's pre-election programme tomorrow

  • [3] Caretaker ministers named

  • [4] Androulakis says he won't run on PASOK ticket

  • [5] Pangalos highly critical of recent Evert statements on foreign policy

  • [6] Pangalos defends early elections decision

  • [7] Opposition response

  • [8] Premier discusses HELEXPO trade fair speech

  • [9] Damanaki announces candidacy for Parliament

  • [10] KKE stresses reinforcement prior to election

  • [11] Election committee considers broadcast time and other issues

  • [12] Mangakis advises charging Denktash with war crimes

  • [13] European conference on commerce, distribution postponed

  • [14] 744 illegal immigrants arrested over the weekend

  • [15] Yiannopoulos cites social security reform as top priority

  • [16] Greek to be taught until 11th grade at certain high schools in Albania

  • [17] National Bank, Thessaloniki Cultural Capital Organization sign contract for art museum

  • [18] Notice to the Readers of the Daily Bulletin


  • [1] PASOK inaugurates "new-style" election campaign

    Athens, 27/08/1996 (ANA)

    PASOK president Costas Simitis yesterday articulated the focus of his party's election campaign, saying his party aimed to bring dialogue and positions to the people and avoid the free-for-all that has prevailed in past Greek election campaigns.

    Announcing that PASOK's campaign would rest on a nationwide tour, televised debates with main opposition New Democracy leader Miltiades Evert and just one major rally, Mr. Simitis said the pre-election period should not be marked by "negative propaganda ... which takes political life backwards".

    PASOK has scheduled just one large-scale election rally, which Mr. Simitis called a "celebration", in Athens on September 20 - two days before the poll - to wind up a nationwide campaign that he said would aim to "further a dialogue for the development of positions" that would be implemented in PASOK's next four-year term.

    The campaign will officially begin on September 3, the 22nd anniversary of the founding of the party by late prime minister Andreas Papandreou. Mr. Simitis said the 3rd would be a "day of memory" but also a day marking a new era in which "steps must become leaps" towards the year 2000.

    PASOK's economic programme will be set out in the framework of events and the opening of the Thessaloniki International Fair, including the customary annual prime ministerial speech on the 6, 7 and 8th of the month, and will include plans on how to promote and sustain development and the modernization of society and institutions.

    Dubbing the campaign "Victory Express", Mr. Simitis said PASOK would visit each prefecture to involve all citizens in the effort. There will be no "plastic flags, false promises or expensive rallies," he said, because "PASOK does not want an expensive and unproductive campaign."

    He said PASOK would not just engage in dialogue on radio and television but would seek a "lively" communication with the people.

    He added that his government had recently passed legislation which set an upper limit on spending by parties contesting the election. The government does not want "poster-pollution and the full commercialization of ideas and personalities", he said. "It says 'yes' to a serious and responsible televised debate, and 'no' to those who attempt derisive 'black' propaganda and blows below the belt."

    "New and contemporary forms of electoral battles must be applied; PASOK will implement them because it is a new and progressive party and wants a pre-electoral period characterized by ethos, substance, reasoning and proposals," he said.

    Referring to his televised debate with Mr. Evert, Mr. Simitis said he wanted the dialogue to be about the challenges of the future, so that the people can draw comparisons and conclusions from the proposals, solutions and leaders. "I do not want a duel, because I do not see Mr. Evert as a combatant: the people do not have any need of duellers and combatants because in these situations the loser is not one of the two, but political life, the country and the level of political debate," he said. "The level of debate must improve so that the people can be informed of which party has contemporary proposals which are demanded, which party has unity, cohesion and the will to implement so as to create a strong and modern Greece for the 21st century," he said.

    [2] Simitis to announce PASOK's pre-election programme tomorrow

    Athens, 27/08/1996 (ANA)

    Prime Minister and PASOK President Costas Simitis is scheduled to unveil his ruling party's programme for the pre-election period tomorrow.

    Also tomorrow, PASOK members will propose the party's candidates for deputy positions, while final candidate lists will be drawn up by the central committee, scheduled to convene on Saturday.

    [3] Caretaker ministers named

    Athens, 27/08/1996 (ANA)

    Four university professors will be sworn in as caretaker ministers for a number of portfolios for the period leading up to the elections, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday.

    Vassilis Skouris will take over the interior ministry portfolio, while Argyris Fatouros will head the justice ministry, Costas Beis the public order ministry and Dimitris Konstas the press ministry.

    The four will be sworn in the presence of President Kostis Stephanopoulos on Friday.

    The president dissolved parliament last Friday, following Mr. Simitis' decision to call early elections for September 22.

    In announcing the appointments, Mr. Simitis said the government was proceeding to this decision to avert any "doubts" in the pre-electoral period and to follow tradition, even though he does not believe it to be absolutely necessary.

    [4] Androulakis says he won't run on PASOK ticket

    Athens, 27/08/1996 (ANA)

    After meeting Prime Minister Costas Simitis for an hour-and-a-half yesterday, former Coalition of the Left deputy Mimis Androulakis announced that he will not, after all, stand as a PASOK candidate in the upcoming general election.

    Mr. Androulakis' candidacy had been widely considered as very likely, and had caused a certain amount of unfavorable reaction within the ruling party.

    He stated that he reached the decision not to be a candidate so that it wouldn't be viewed that he was asking for favors in return, and expressed a hope that the Coalition is represented in the new Parliament, in order for there to be a dialogue with PASOK for the broader unity of center-left forces, as he put it.

    The prime minister said in a statement that they exchanged opinions on the present and future of progressive forces, and invited Mr. Androulakis to participate in an upcoming summit of the Socialist International in New York, in co-operation with the PASOK delegation.

    [5] Pangalos highly critical of recent Evert statements on foreign policy

    Athens, 27/08/1996 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday blasted main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert's recent criticism over foreign policy issues, branding it "narrow-minded" and "intellectu-ally inferior."

    Referring to Mr. Evert's statements that Greece could engage in dialogue with Turkey under the condition that a listing of problems between the two countries first be recorded, Mr. Pangalos said the main opposition leader "would in this way satisfy a long-term demand of Turkish foreign policy, which no Greek government, including the junta, has ever agreed to satisfy."

    "Mr. Evert gave the Turks what they had been wanting for years," the foreign minister said, also criticizing the ND leader of declaring that he would accept dialogue with Turkey on the provision that the latter showed respect for international law.

    Mr. Pangalos said Turkey has repeatedly stated that it respects international law without such statements preventing it from disputing Greece's national and sovereign rights.

    In addition, he reiterated the government's position that in order to enter into a dialogue with Turkey, Ankara must abandon all expansionist designs against Greece, agree to refer the Aegean continental shelf issue to the International Court of Justice at The Hague, and give consent to the creation of a joint committee to promote economic and cultural relations between the two countries.

    "If Turkey agrees with the above, then we shall elaborate further on the issue," Mr. Pangalos said.

    Turning to other Balkan issues, Mr. Pangalos referred to post-election government initiatives in the region, branding Greek-Albanian relations "excellent".

    He also said relations with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) were "excellent" on the economic front, calling on the neighboring country to accept the fact that its international name is FYROM and that it can participate in international meetings and organizations only under this name.

    Mr. Pangalos said all efforts by himself and the PASOK government to attain agreement with the other political parties on the handling of foreign policy issues have been faced with "a narrow-minded, intellectually inferior response, and petty demagogy on the part of the main opposition."

    Stressing that such an attitude by the main opposition could not form the basis for a "constructive" dialogue between parties, Mr. Pangalos stressed the importance of strategic goals in foreign affairs, adding that those demanding long-term planning in foreign affairs were "not in touch with reality."

    He said there were such goals in Greece's foreign policy but "reasons of petty party expediencies and demagogy" prevented the main opposition from acknowledging it.

    [6] Pangalos defends early elections decision

    Athens, 27/08/1996 (ANA)

    Referring to criticism by Mr. Evert that Prime Minister Costas Simitis' decision to call a snap poll revealed the premier's "untrustwor-thiness", Mr. Pangalos said:

    "The founder of the main opposition party (and former president) Constantine Karamanlis is the sole untrustworthy one, (being the only prime minister) who has never exhausted his party's full four-year term in office."

    Mr. Pangalos said he was against early elections in principle but was now utterly convinced for their necessity by Mr. Simitis' reasoning.

    He had also opposed early elections because of concern that foreign policy issues would become the object of "electioneering" and mudslinging between parties.

    Mr. Pangalos predicted an overwhelming PASOK win over the main opposition, adding that during the month-long pre-election period Greek voters "will realize that the opposition stands for old party system in its most anachronistic and outdated form."

    [7] Opposition response

    Athens, 27/08/1996 (ANA)

    Responding to Mr. Pangalos' criticism, ND spokesman Prokopis Pavlopoulos said "it must be seen in the context of his peculiar behavior and the fluctuations marking his term."

    Mr. Pavlopoulos said it was typical of Mr. Pangalos "to attack and then apologize," adding that the foreign minister's accusations against the main opposition did not merit response.

    Turning to other issues, Mr. Pavlopoulos criticized the government for signing the interim agreement with Skopje last September, leaving the name issue for later negotiations.

    "It's a fact that the issue is at an impasse and that Skopje is internationally and uncontrollably usurping the name 'Macedonia', while Mr. Pangalos expresses satisfaction at the current situation," he added.

    [8] Premier discusses HELEXPO trade fair speech

    Athens, 27/08/1996 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday discussed the content of the customary annual prime ministerial speech at the Thessaloniki Trade Fair (HELEXPO) on Sept. 6 with the ministers of National Economy, Yiannos Papantoniou, Finance, Alekos Papadopoulos an d Development, Vasso Papandreou.

    Asked if Mr. Simitis' speech would contain announcements regarding the government's incomes policy next year, Mr. Papantoniou said the speech would contain the customary account of the government's work in the economy and prospects for the future.

    [9] Damanaki announces candidacy for Parliament

    Athens, 27/08/1996 (ANA)

    Former Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Maria Damanaki is staging a political comeback after announcing that she will run for deputy in Athens' second electoral district.

    This was made official yesterday following a meeting between Ms Damanaki and Synaspismos leader Nikos Constantopoulos.

    Mr. Constantopoulos said Synaspismos constituted the "new hope for a change in the political scene," adding "our main concern is to fight this struggle united."

    Ms Damanaki said the return of Synaspismos to Parliament was an "absolute must, "in view of the critical decision Parliament is going to have to make that will determine the course of the country in the coming decades."

    She had tendered her resignation from party leadership after Synaspismos failed to achieve the minimum 3 per cent national vote required for representation in Parliament in the 1993 general elections.

    Her attempt to resume an active political role the following year in a bid for Athens mayor failed.

    [10] KKE stresses reinforcement prior to election

    Athens, 27/08/1996 (ANA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga presented her party's election declarations to the press yesterday, saying its focus was to reinforce the party in order to play a key role in post-election developments.

    Ms Papariga said a reinforced KKE would result in the formulation of "broader and more powerful battlefronts" and "political formations," as well as various trends "with a positive influence on the problems of the people and the needs of the country."

    Stressing that Prime Minister Costas Simitis' decision to call a snap poll was in fact dictated by the European Union and the United States, who she said are pressuring for a package solution in Cyprus and the Aegean. In addition, Ms Papariga criticized the government and main opposition New Democracy party for not coming forward with the truth regarding Sept. 23, the day after the elections.

    Ruling out party co-operation with any of the other political parties due to what she called "totally dissimilar positions," Ms Papariga criticized the other small political parties for "political opportunism," adding that political power and influence of the major parties should be "drastically diminished."

    [11] Election committee considers broadcast time and other issues

    Athens, 27/08/1996 (ANA)

    An inter-party election committee convened yesterday under the chairmanship of Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos with discussions touching on the provision of television broadcast time for parties, problems of noise pollution and littering by party posters as well as the publication of opinion polls.

    Following a suggestion by the committee, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said he intends to implement restrictions on broadcast time allocated to parties by government-controlled and private media outlets.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said advertising "spots" in the media will be restricted or banned altogether for individual candidates, while "election zones" of a specific length will be created and allocated to political parties.

    The main opposition New Democracy party asked for the interior, justice, public order and press ministers to be replaced by caretaker ministers, and also called for television debates between party leaders.

    ND insisted on three televised debates between Prime Minister Costas Simitis and ND leader Miltiades Evert, and asked for the possibility of a substantive debate between the two men, and not a "televised monologue".

    ND party spokesman Prokopis Pavlopoulos said there must be three subjects of discussion: foreign policy, economic and social policy and constitutional reform.

    Political Spring, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Coalition of the Left and Progress all called for equal broadcasting time for all parties.

    Political Spring leader Antonis Samaras yesterday invited the prime minister, the ND president and the leaders of the other parties to a joint television appearance in view of the forthcoming elections.

    In addition, left-wing parties asked for publication of opinion polls to be banned, which, according to the interior minister, is difficult by a lack of relevant legislation.

    The Athens Union of Journalists (ESHEA) yesterday called on state bodies and the inter-party election committee to respect the constitutional clause for the "equal and free expression of opinions and ideas of all parties and candidates."

    ESHEA said the clause should be respected "especially during these elections, where the short pre-election period causes the media to play a determining role in the forming of public opinion."

    [12] Mangakis advises charging Denktash with war crimes

    Athens, 27/08/1996 (ANA)

    Criminal law professor and former alternate foreign minister George Mangakis said yesterday that "after the uncovering of the faces of the murderers (of two Greek Cypriot protesters in Dherynia) and the international press' revealing reports on the 'professionals' of violence, the Cyprus Republic must take recourse to international courts, charging (Turkish Cypriot leader) Rauf Denktash and his accomplices as war criminals."

    Mr. Mangakis is also a war crimes law expert.

    Two Greek Cypriot demonstrators were killed in cold-blood in the buffer zone at Dherynia earlier this month. Tassos Isaac was beaten to death with metal bars and stones, while Solomos Solomou, a cousin of Isaac, was shot five times while attempting to take down a Turkish flag on the Turkish Cypriot side of the buffer zone.

    [13] European conference on commerce, distribution postponed

    Athens, 27/08/1996 (ANA)

    The first European conference on commerce and distribution, scheduled to be held in Alexandroupolis, has been postponed due to the forthcoming elections, following a decision issued by the National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE).

    The conference was due to open on Sept. 22, the date picked last week for general elections. ESEE will announce a new date for the conference during the next few days, after discussions with European Commissioner for Energy, Small-to-Medium-Sized Businesses and Tourism Christos Papoutsis.

    [14] 744 illegal immigrants arrested over the weekend

    Athens, 27/08/1996 (ANA)

    Some 744 Albanian illegal immigrants were arrested over the weekend in Epirus, authorities announced yesterday.

    All have been deported through the Kakavia border post.

    Five immigrants were arrested at the 8th km on the national KalpakiKonitsa road when police patrols stopped an Albanian car. The driver managed to evade arrest.

    A Greek truck driver abandoned his vehicle at the Kalogiros bridge near Philippias when police pulled him over. Sixteen Albanian illegal immigrants were found in the vehicle. They told police that were destined for Athens, having paid 60,000 drachmas each for the journey.

    Police said the vehicle has been involved in transporting illegal immigrants in the past and are seeking the driver.

    [15] Yiannopoulos cites social security reform as top priority

    Athens, 27/08/1996 (ANA)

    Labor and Social Security Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos said yesterday that reform of the social security system will be one of the priorities of a government that will emerge from the forthcoming elections.

    Replying to reporters' questions, Labor Under-secretary Lambros Kanellopoulos stressed that unification of social security funds continues to be a main area of concern for the ruling party regarding the reform of the entire social security system.

    [16] Greek to be taught until 11th grade at certain high schools in Albania

    Gjirokaster, 27/08/1996 (ANA)

    Tirana announced yesterday that it will allow the teaching of Greek up to the 11th grade at Greek minority high schools in the Gjirokaster, Delvino and Sarande prefectures.

    Until now, Greek was only taught for a limited number of hours a week in these areas' high schools.

    This constitutes a step towards implementing a decision taken by the Albanian government last year regarding the teaching of Greek at all levels of education in areas populated by ethnic Greeks.

    However, problems are arising as the number of pupils in ethnic Greek villages are falling, posing an immediate threat to the schools' future.

    [17] National Bank, Thessaloniki Cultural Capital Organization sign contract for art museum

    Athens, 27/08/1996 (ANA)

    The National Bank of Greece and the Thessaloniki Cultural Capital Organization yesterday signed a contract for renovation and utilization of the facilities of the YFANET industrial complex as well as the creation of a modern art museum.

    The museum is estimated to be one of the most important cultural infrastructure projects due to be built in Thessaloniki during 1997, and has a budget of two billion drachmas. Roughly 6,500 square meters will be used for the museum from the industrial complex's total of 12,891.

    According to the organization's plans, the museum will include exhibition and administration areas, laboratories and libraries.

    The organization aims for the museum to become a Balkan-wide cultural and artistic center, with initiatives being taken for cultural and educational co-operation and the creation of a special center to host artists.

    [18] Notice to the Readers of the Daily Bulletin

    Athens, 27/08/1996 (ANA)

    The Athens News Agency (ANA) provides a same-day, around-the-clock-news service in English to keep subscribers up to date on the issues that shape Greece's political and economic scene.

    The ANA Special English Service offers diplomats and journalists the latest news by telex on the country's foreign and domestic policies, its political parties, trade unions and pressure groups, the economy, industry and transport, and visits by officials from abroad.

    For further information, please call Chris Eliou, Director of the Special English Service on 3639816, Ext. 47.

    You may order subscriptions from George Tsambras, Marketing and Sales Department, on 3641293.

    End of English language section.

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