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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-09-22

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

September 22, 2003

CONTENTS

  • [01] Main opposition's lead over ruling party narrows, opinion polls show
  • [02] Opinion polls show public backs PM, gov't says
  • [03] Ruling party secretary says main opposition lacks policies
  • [04] Communist Party of Greece seeks to widen power base
  • [05] Coalition of Left accuses ruling party of populism, slogan-mongering
  • [06] Defense Minister to Sweden for talks on cooperation
  • [07] Main opposition leader declared honorary professor in Ukraine
  • [08] EU has protested to Turkey over occupied northern Cyprus
  • [09] Gas stations start indefinite strike at midnight
  • [10] Smaller firms need better business climate to spur growth
  • [11] Bill on easing creation of small firms due for parliament
  • [12] Greek medical centre launched in Ukraine
  • [13] Ethnic Greeks in Ukraine flock to arts festival
  • [14] Three prizes for ''Skipper Straad'' at Drama Short Film Festival
  • [15] Iacovou leaves for New York and Europe for contacts

  • [01] Main opposition's lead over ruling party narrows, opinion polls show

    Athens, 22/09/2003 (ANA)

    A stream of opinion polls at the weekend on general elections due in spring 2004 show the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party narrowing its lead over ruling PASOK in voter preference.

    In a poll by Kapa Research published in the Sunday Vima newspaper, ND lies 6.1 percentage points ahead in voter preference against 7.8 percentage points in the previous poll, which was conducted in May.

    ND gained 39.2 percent of voters polled and PASOK 32 percent. Coming a distant third was the Communist Party of Greece at 5.2 percent, followed by the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology at three percent, and the Demo-cratic Social Movement at 2.1 percent.

    The floating vote totalled 10.4 percent.

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis came 3.4 percentage points ahead of ND leader Costas Karamanlis as favorite for premier against a gap of 1.1 percentage points in May. Simitis gained 38.7 percent of the vote and Karamanlis 35.3 percent.

    Of respondents, 32.5 percent said they were fairly or very satisfied with how premier Simitis handled the country's major problems with 30.3 percent saying they were not particularly satisfied. Thirty seven percent said they were not at all satisfied.

    ND is likely to win the next election, according to 53.5 percent of respondents, with 31.4 percent seeing PASOK as the probable victor.

    A poll conducted by Metron Analysis on September 10-17 and commissioned by the Ethnos newspaper gave ND 39.3 percent and PASOK 32.2 percent in voter preference; the lead was down from eight percentage points in the company's last survey three months ago.

    In addition, ND led PASOK at 54.5 percent to 31.6 percent as the party the public believes is most likely to win the next election, according to the poll published on Saturday.

    The floating vote totalled 14.1 percent; and Simitis was considered to be more suitable for the premiership than Karamanlis at 39 percent to 35.7 percent.

    A poll undertaken by Opinion for the Eleftherotypia newspaper showed ND at 38.1 percent in voter preference and PASOK at 30.6 percent, while a prediction for the winning party gave ND 51 percent and the ruling party 32.5 percent.

    The floating vote totalled 16.3 percent, while Simitis was preferred as prime minister by 43.3 percent of respondents against 40 percent for Karamanlis, said the newspaper published on Saturday.

    A survey by Rush commissioned for the Kathimerini newspaper gave ND 37.9 percent and PASOK 30.2 percent of the vote, with the gap narrowing from 9.8 percentage points in May.

    Simitis again was in the lead for the premiership at 40.8 percent against 39.2 percent for the ND leader in the survey published on Saturday.

    Asked to forecast the winner of the next national ballot, 57.2 percent of people polled opted for ND and 29.8 percent for PASOK.

    [02] Opinion polls show public backs PM, gov't says

    Athens, 22/09/2003 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Saturday that the public had confidence in the prime minister.

    The spokesman was responding to a spate of opinion polls on the next general election that showed the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party narrowing its lead in voter preference, but premier Simitis remaining favorite for the post over ND leader Costas Karamanlis.

    ''Our initiatives, our work, our policies and the public's confidence in Costas Simitis have created a new political climate. We are steadily continuing with our work and and our goals, which lie close to the public and their problems,'' Protopapas said in a statement.

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos told reporters: ''Opinion polls are very important gauges. The most important one is confidence in the prime minister's person.''

    George Souflias, a senior ND official and former minister, said the surveys showed the public wanted to see seriousness and a sense of responsibility shown in politics, and not party political tactics of populism and pre-election handouts.

    ''ND's major major lead over PASOK has been consolidated. It is currently above seven percentage points, but I would underline that a constant and major endeavor is required until the elections,'' Souflias added.

    [03] Ruling party secretary says main opposition lacks policies

    NICOSIA, 22/09/2003 (ANA)

    The secretary of the ruling PASOK party, Mihalis Chrysohoidis, said in an interview published on Sunday that the main opposition party lacked policies.

    ''I think that New Democracy lacks proposals and a progam,'' Chrysohoidis told Cyprus' Phileleftheros newspaper.

    ''I believe this party has a strong urge to power, a power complex, as it is suffering from deprivation due to its many years of absence from government,'' he said.

    Chrysohoidis also asserted that PASOK was heading for general elections due in spring 2004 with a high level of unity among senior party officials.

    [04] Communist Party of Greece seeks to widen power base

    Athens, 22/09/2003 (ANA)

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) is seeking to widen its power base by communicating with the public about an alternative route for Greek society that would oppose the stranglehold of vested interests.

    ''We are seeking to start a broad discussion in the Greek public for an alternative solution, the other road for the evolution of Greek society, which opposes the one-way street of the oligarchy of wealth's vested interests,'' KKE leader Aleka Papariga told the party's annual youth movement festival on Sunday.

    ''This a dialogue through action, through rallying and working together, in the daily struggle. It's the most profitable way of identifying points in common and openly discussing our differences,'' Papariga said.

    An alternation of liberal and social democratic governments had failed to benefit the public. Globalization, which was an internationalized form of capitalism, had failed to eliminate national capitalist structures, Papariga said.

    ''The centre-left experiment in France, in Italy and elsewhere is still new, as is the centre-right experiment. All these governments, single-party or coalitions, have gone ahead and implemented tough neo-liberal measures, and taken part in or openly compromised with imperialist wars and with the suppression of the people's rights,'' she said.

    [05] Coalition of Left accuses ruling party of populism, slogan-mongering

    Athens, 22/09/2003 (ANA)

    The leader of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology, Nikos Constantopoulos said at the weekend that the ruling PASOK party had made a mockery of the country for a decade.

    ''Today, after eight years of continuous government by (Prime Minister Costas) Simitis.....we have seen yet another decade of populism and slogan-mongering,'' Constantopoulos told his party's youth festival in Thessaloniki.

    ''The prime minister has created black holes with his policy, and, at the last moment, before elections, he wants to heal the wounds in society by means of padding, with convergence charters and concession packages,'' he said.

    Constantopoulos also complained of orchestrated corruption in public life.

    [06] Defense Minister to Sweden for talks on cooperation

    Athens, 22/09/2003 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou begins a two-day visit to Sweden on Monday for talks with his counterpart on sector cooperation between the two countries.

    On the agenda for talks are defense and military cooperation, including the defense industry, a reorganization of the Swedish armed forces, the European rapid reaction force, and developments in Iraq, the Greek ministry said in a statement.

    In a separate trip starting on Monday, Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis is to attend a United Nations general assembly meeting in New York.

    [07] Main opposition leader declared honorary professor in Ukraine

    MARIOPOL, 22/09/2003 UKRAINE (ANA/S.Tzimas)

    The leader of the main opposition New Democracy party, Costas Karamanlis, was declared an honorary professor at the Humanities Institute of Maripol University, Ukraine at the weekend.

    The ceremony on Saturday was part of a visit to Ukraine by Karamanlis to visit ethnic Greek inhabitants.

    [08] EU has protested to Turkey over occupied northern Cyprus

    NICOSIA, 22/09/2003 (ANA)

    The European Union has protested to Ankara over signature of a framework customs union agreement between Turkey and the northern sector of Cyprus it is occupying, Greek foreign ministry spokesman Panayiotis Beglitis said on Sunday.

    In an interview to Cyprus' Phileleftheros newspaper, Beglitis said the protest had been lodged with the Turkish foreign ministry.

    ''This is a strongly worded demarche. This move by Turkey will be included in the Commission's evaluation report, which we expect in November,'' he added.

    [09] Gas stations start indefinite strike at midnight

    Athens, 22/09/2003 (ANA)

    Petrol station owners said on Sunday that they would begin an indefinite strike at midnight following a breakdown of talks with the government on the mandatory issue of receipts for gasoline.

    The owners' union said in a statement that a decision on whether or not to continue the strike would be reviewed each day in line with progress in negotiations with the finance ministry.

    Electronic cash registers are to be installed at the pumps to record gasoline sales in a move to streamline taxation.

    The development ministry has imposed a price ceiling on liquid fuel in mostly island regions to crack down on profiteering with higher fuel transportation costs as a pretext.

    [10] Smaller firms need better business climate to spur growth

    Athens, 22/09/2003 (ANA)

    Speakers at a conference on small and medium sized enterprises agreed that the sector was plagued by obstacles that slowed growth.

    Member states of the European Union should therefore work to create the right business environment to allow smaller firms to function better and grow, the speakers said.

    Wrapping up the conference on Saturday was George Alogoskoufis, economics spokesman of the main opposition New Democracy party.

    The two-day meeting in Halkidiki was arranged by the EU Commission's office in Athens with the Association of Northern Greek Industry and the European Business Information Network.

    [11] Bill on easing creation of small firms due for parliament

    Athens, 22/09/2003 (ANA)

    Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said on Saturday that a government bill on reducing the time and money needed to set up small and medium sized enterprises would shortly be sent to parliament.

    ''Our aim is to reduce the time needed to set up these companies to 10 days, and to lower the cost to 10 percent of the current figure,'' the minister said.

    He was addressing a conference in the northern port city of Thessaloniki on investment incentives for small and medium sized firms in an expanding Europe.

    [12] Greek medical centre launched in Ukraine

    KIEV, 22/09/2003 (ANA/S.Aravopoulou)

    A Greek medical center in Mariopol, Ukraine was inaugurated on Saturday by Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis.

    The Hellenic Diagnostic Medical Centre will provide free medical care for both Greek and non-Greek inhabitants of the country.

    ''This is not a day for words and pledges. Work has been accomplished,'' Magriotis told an inauguration ceremony attended by the leader of the main opposition New Democracy party, Costas Karamanlis.

    Magriotis congratulated the president of the Council of Hellenes Abroad, Andrew Athens, on the project; and conveyed messages from Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Foreign Minister George Papandreou welcoming its implementation.

    The deputy minister also announced that the center was twinned with Thessaloniki's Ippokratio Hospital.

    The new medical center is the Council's largest due to a donation by Antonis Drouzos, president of the Friends of the Council of Hellenes Abroad. Medical equipment was funded by Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

    Magriotis added that the foreign ministry had this year launched a new program of supporting health centers abroad, along with furtherance of the Greek language, Greek culture and small-scale ethnic Greek businesses.

    [13] Ethnic Greeks in Ukraine flock to arts festival

    MARIOPOL, 22/09/2003 UKRAINE (ANA/S.Aravopoulou)

    More than 2000 ethnic Greeks from 48 villages in Ukraine converged on Yalta, Mariopol in the Ukraine to attend an arts festival backed by Greece's foreign ministry.

    Among speakers at the celebration of Greek culture were Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis, the head of the main opposition New Democracy party, Costas Karamanlis, and the president of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad, Andrew Athens.

    Speaking for Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Magriotis said that the government and the public was always ready to help the ethnic Greeks of Ukraine, led by the World Council of Hellenes Abroad.

    This year's festival also coincided with the 60th anniversary of liberation of the area from the Germans.

    [14] Three prizes for ''Skipper Straad'' at Drama Short Film Festival

    Athens, 22/09/2003 (ANA)

    A film entitled ''Skipper Straad'' won the first prize for non-documentary films at the Drama Short Film Festival, which ended at the weekend.

    The work by Irini Vahlioti also scooped up the award for best Balkan film, and a special director's prize.

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos told the closing ceremony on Saturday that the government would raise funding for the festival, starting this year.

    [15] Iacovou leaves for New York and Europe for contacts

    LARNACA. 22/09/2003 (CNA)

    Cyprus Foreign Minister George Iacovou left for New York on Sunday where he will take part in a number of meetings within the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

    He told reporters at Larnaca Airport that on Monday he will represent President Tassos Papadopoulos at a special high-level meeting which will review the global program in combating AIDS. The two will also hold a number of meetings as well as separate meetings with their counterparts.

    On 23 September he will take part in a meeting of the EU and Russia where the 25 will meet Russia's Foreign Minister to review developments and on 26 September a similar meeting will be held with US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

    Iacovou will meet a number of his counterparts from Islamic countries in view of the Islamic Conference that will take place in Malaysia on 11 October.

    On Saturday, 27 September he will depart for Brussels to attend on Monday, 29 September the General Affairs Council and address the Cyprus - EU Interparliamentary Committee and will then return to New York to continue his contacts before returning to Cyprus via Rome, where he will attend the EU Inter-governmental Conference beginning on October 4.

    Invited to comment on President Papadopoulos' meeting in New York with UN Chief Kofi Annan, Iacovou said "there will be an exchange of views and both sides will convey their positions". |

    However, he said there is also the third party, which is the Turkish Cypriot side, "which is far from the positions of the UN Secretary-General".

    Iacovou said this is strengthened by the fact that if Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's statement that the Annan Plan is dead is taken into consideration, as well as statements made by Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul,

    "then it will affect the contents of President Papadopoulos' meeting with Mr. Annan".

    The foreign minister said there are no specific amendments, which the Greek Cypriot side is proposing to the Annan Plan because it will be evaluated by the committee on the Cyprus problem once "we are approaching negotiations".

    Iacovou expressed the view that if Denktash does not win the so

    called "elections" of December and remains "president" of his illegal state and the victory of the so called "opposition" is not great, then Denktash will not abandon his position. "Therefore he will continue to play a very important role in issues concerning the Turkish Cypriot community", he added.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the islandís territory.


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