|Thursday, 12 December 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-11-12
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 12 November 2007 Issue No: 2746
 Papandreou handily wins PASOK leadership raceMain opposition PASOK president George Papandreou overcame a leadership challenge during the party' s nationwide internal election on Sunday with an apparent landslide victory, polling slightly more than 60 percent of vote to main rival Evangelos Venizelos' 33.54 percent -- with 25 percent of the total vote tallied just before midnight.
The total number of counted votes before midnight was 140,735, with roughly 1,100 declared void or blank.
Veteran PASOK cadre and former minister Costas Skandalidis, the third candidate in the PASOK presidential race, garnered 6.28 percent, as pollsters estimated that the figures will not significantly change, even as the remaining 75 percent of the vote is counted.
Earlier in the evening and after party polling stations had closed, PASOK spokesman Yiannis Raggousis referred to a massive participation in the party election, estimating the turnout at approximately 900,000 voters.
On his part, Venizelos called Papandreou before midnight to congratulate him over his re-election, something done hours earlier by Skandalidis.
 Election underway for new PASOK leaderPolls opened at 9:00 a.m. Sunday throughout the country, in a crucial election for a new leader of the main opposition PASOK party, after a heated two-month campaign period.
The election, initiated by incumbent PASOK leader George Papandreou following the party's defeat in general elections in September, in which the New Democracy (ND) government was re-elected, is being contested by three candidates: Papandreou and MPs and former ministers Evangelos Venizelos and Costas Skandalidis.
The voting process will end at 6:00 p.m., with results due to be tallied by late Sunday night.
Papandreou called the PASOK leadership election a "historic day for the country", in a statement after casting his vote at a polling station in Nea Erythrea.
"It is a celebration of democracy and the citizen, and not an ordinary internal party procedure, which gives a voice to the people," Papandreou said, adding that the turnout by voting PASOK members and friends was "impressive".
He further said that the election paved the way for changes and reversals to the present political system "which does not authentically expressed the people and their needs, nor the need for autonomy in politics".
Venizelos, after casting his own vote at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) facilities in the northern Greek capital, called the day "critical but beautiful", adding that "something is changing".
"Today is a critical, but beautiful, day for the democratic party, for the PASOK of the new era. Something is changing in PASOK, and also in the entire political system. The citizens are voting with optimism. They feel that a new page is opening, they are opening this page themselves," he said.
He called on voters to persist, apologising for what he called organisational problems in the procedure, referring to the large queues that formed outside the polling stations set up at the TIF premises. "I call on them to persist, to exercise their democratic right. Because with the exercise of that right, we are jointly formulating the PASOK of the future. It is important that we consolidate democracy today in PASOK, to convert PASOK into a truly democratic party. It is important to overturn situations. It is important to give a prospect," Venizelos said.
Skandalidis, after casting his vote at the Athens Municipality's Cultural Centre, expressed hope that "not only will we be together tomorrow, but that we will also go to the people, because the problems are ahead of us".
 Interview with PASOK leader Papandreou on eve of Sunday's electionMain opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou said he aims at a a victory of strategic importance resulting from the party's ideological and political credibility, if re-elected to the PASOK leadership in Sunday's internal party election, in an exclusive interview with ANA-MPA on the eve of the election, adding that he did not fear for the party's unity, "which is guaranteed by the rank and file".
Papandreou opined that the divisions in the party existed before the leadership election process, and considered it fortunate that the disagreements were manifested now and, due to the election process, came to the surface and were expressed, calling the process a "redemption", while also warning that "divisionary rationales" had reappeared in recent days and were under-mining the efforts to ensure PASOK's unity.
However, Papandreou said he was not worried about the party's unity because it was "guaranteed by the rank and file", which comprises a "breakwater" against the "new, divisionist preachings", nor was he worried about the co-existence of all the cadres with the leadership.
Papandreou was also strongly critical of the major interests and the mass media, stressing that democracy was threatened by the large concentration of wealth, which "buys media, buys out consciences, formulates news, controls information, manipulates the public opinion, and wants to impose its own choices and individuals on the political life" of the country.
To a question on whether the PASOK rank and file would be able to put behind it the division and at times extreme arguments and forge ahead together, Papandreou said that for years now, and for reasons that required further analysis, various types of division were dormant in PASOK, the most significant of which were caused by regimist attitudes, authority perceptions and arrogance, which alienated the party from the people and its own rank and file. Added to these were the divisions caused by some of the party's policies which made its social allies feel that they were left out of the party's interests and priorities.
This, he said, was the most basic reason for PASOK's electoral defeat in 2004 (which brought the New Democracy party to government), and continued to exist up until the defeat in the 2007 general elections (in which ND was re-elected to power).
Fortunately, however, those divisions came to the surface in the ensuing two months and were expressed, and became the subject of a genuine political confrontation, serving as the party's redemption from its divisive past, provided, however, that it was not rekindled by the divisive rationales that have resurfaced in recent days, undermining the efforts to create the conditions for a new unity founded on a new collective spirit in the decision-taking and actions.
In any event, Papandreou said, he was not worried about healing the wounds that reached all the way to the party's foundation, because it was that foundation, the rank and file, that was the guarantor of PASOK's unity, serving as a breakwater against the new divisive preachings which "some individuals parade today as their plastic ideological banner".
In the same sense, he was also not worried about the future co-existence of all cadres with the party's leadership, because the leadership would be the guarantor of the party's unity, determining the content of the clear-cut and strong mandage of the November 11 election.
The bigger the participation in Sunday's election process, the stronger and clearer will be the party's unity the morning after, Papandreou added.
Asked to what degree the stance of the electoral body would influence which of the three candidates would be elected to the PASOK helm, Papandreou said that the primary criterion of the Greek voter was the existence of programmes, attitudes and perceptions capable of earning his confidence and of convincing him of their effectiveness in solving his everyday social and financial problems.
"No messiah can convince any voter to vote for him just because he has a charismatic personality or communicational skills. This is a myth concocted by the Right to cover up its own lack of ideological proposals,programmes and genuine values, through projection of the role of the individual as a substitute for substantive policial differences," Papandreou said.
Thus, he continued, PASOK's return to politics and its adoption of policies that will bridge the gaps it had allowed to form with the non-priviledged Greeks and productive strata of the society was the goal.
Asked whether he believed that PASOK would have a better result if it presented itself to the electorate as a different party, or as a better manager of power, Papandreou said that management of power for the sake of power belonged to right-wing governance, and was not the goal of a centre-left governance.
"A contemporary centre-right governance such as that endorsed by PASOK is mainly a governance that uses power as a tool for producing social changes, redistribution policies and advancement of a new model of growth that will also protect the environment, create confidence, security and hope among the middle and popular strata, invest in the human potential, take advantage of the comparative advantages and put into effect a new national strategy for social justice, self-sustained development and liberation of the productive forces from the bonds of clientellistic relations, party expediencies and non-meritocratic models," Papandreou said.
Asked to comment on recent media reports on the economic interests and their "interventions" in the political life of the country and on whether that had played a part in the outcome of the latest general elections, Papandreou said that the establishment of equal relations among businesses, State and political parties was a fundamental condition for restoring the basic rules of operation of democracy.
Greece's democracy was threatened today with shrinking due to the accumulation of immense wealth on the one hand and poverty on the other, Papandreou said. When the accumulated wealth purchased media, bought consciences, formulated news, controlled information, manipulated public opinion and wanted to impose its own choices on the country's political life, that constituted a direct threat against the autonomy of politics, freedom of expression and the democratic rights, he said, adding that if this hazard was not confronted actively and institutionally, the conditions could not be created for social justice, social cohesion, or social and economic growth, or much less so for development based on the creative forces of the country. Consequently, an electoral law was necessary that would protect political autonomy and rid the politicians of their dependence on political money.
Asked what his first priority would be if elected PASOK president, Papandreou said it would be to transform the experience of the party's internal crisis into a "creative breath of renewal" and formulate the organisational and political conditions so that the new beginning of November 11 would be turned into the constantly multiplying force of a new long-term PASOK dominance and a new effective strategy for its victory in the next general elections.
 Alavanos on PASOK electionRadical Left Coalition (Syriza) leader Alekos Alavanos on Sunday, speaking after the fifth conference of the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos), which leads Syriza, referred to the same-day election at main opposition PASOK to select a new party leader.
Alavanos, at the end of his address, expressed a hope that PASOK will align itself with common positions to "deflect the extreme anti-social reforms by the (ruling) New Democracy (government)."
He also said that even the most discerning supporters and cadres of PASOK now understand why a wider cooperation between the two political spheres (PASOK and Syriza) is impossible.
 SYN Congress slated for late JanuaryThe 5th regular Congress of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Progress (SYN) will be held in late January, according to a decision reached on Sunday by the party's Central Political Committee following a two-day discussion.
The Central Political Committee also authorised the party's Platform Committee to complete the Text of Positions (platform) that has already been unanimously approved as the basis. The Text of Positions will be finalised at a new meeting of the Central Political Committee on Wednesday, November 21.
 Deputy FM Doukas on official visit to IndiaNEW DELHI (ANA-MPA/N. Melissova)
Deputy Foreign Minister Petros Doukas is paying an official visit to India as of Sunday, heading a business delegation that includes several top Greek executives and business leaders.
"Greece is the closest euro-zone country to India ... We are aiming at the creation of joint ventures, the exportation of know-how and products. We are calling on the Indian side to invest, taking advantage of law 3427/2005 that permits the operation of regional and head offices with a very favourable tax status in Greece, a multiply attractive destination," Doukas said en route to New Delhi.
The deputy foreign minister further noted that representatives of the film industry, fashion world and SMEs, as well as representatives of universities, museums, the Athens stock exchange and shipping companies are also participating.
The mission also includes representatives from the sectors of construction, foodstuffs, IT and pharmaceuticals, along with the Hellenic Aerospace Industry (HAI) and the National Port Development Centre.
 New US ambassador pledges to work hard for further improvement of Greek-US relationsNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Newly-appointed US ambassador to Greece Daniel Speckhard pledged to work consistently for further improvement of Greek-US relations and the resolution of issues concerning Hellenism, and expressed pleasure at being posted to Greece.
Speaking early Saturday (Greek time) with officials of the Hellenic American community and press during a reception in his honour organised by the Cyprus Federation of America and the International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA), Speckhard said he looked forward to working closely with the Greek American community in order to advance solutions to problems that have been long outstanding, such as the Cyprus problem and the FYROM name issue, and promised to work hard towards that goal.
Speckhard called Greece one of the most important countries in the world, and historically one of US's most significant allies, sharing common values, and also acknowledged the important role played by the Greek American community in boosting relations between Greece and the US.
 Information Secretary General Livadas outlines Greek economy prospects at Capital Link Forum conferenceNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Information Secretary General Panos Livadas outlined the possibilities and prospects of the Greek economy, and the "improved image" of Greece, addressing the 9th Capital Link Forum's annual conference on "Greece today: Investments and Business Opportunities" at a hotel in Manhattan on Friday (NY time).
In an address titled "Greece today: Successes and new priorities", Livadas first mentioned the devastating wildfires in Greece during the past summer, noting the immediate mobilisation of the State for relief of the victims, adding that the Greek government "has both the desire and the means to implement a minimum-bureaucracy policy at all levels of State transactions with the citizen".
Turning to the energy sector, Livadas said that the new Greece-Turkey natural gas pipeline will be inaugurated next Sunday, November 18, by Greek prime minister Costas Karamanlis and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
He further outlined developments regarding economic growth, while referring to merchant shipping in particular, he stressed that "Greece has maximised its distinct advantage in merchant shipping and the shipping industry, with large financial results".
Greece, he added, was a reliable economic and business centre in its neighbourhood, and was a major foreign investor in Albania and FYROM, while it also ranked among the top three foreign investors in Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia.
Through its investments, and its growth in general, the right was consolidated to Greek foreign policy, which was directly linked to economic diplomacy, Livadas said.
He explained that Greece was developing in an extrovert manner, and through the implementation of bodl reforms had already achieved impressive results that enabled placing greater emphasis on state social policies for the elderly and the poor, "in order to create a more productive safety net for all those needing one".
The Forum was held under the auspices of the General Secretariat, aimed at projecting Greece's economic and business benefits in the US for the purpose of attracting American investors.
During his stay in New York, where he arrived on Thursday, Livadas met with members of Greek American organisations and gave interviews to the mass media.
Livadas will also be visiting Chicago, Boston and Houston and his US visit will be concluded with his participation in a conference organised by the Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) on November 17-18, on the theme : "Viewing the future of the young Greek American executives: Opportunities and prospects."
 Distessed Turkish ship carrying 275 illegals towed to safetyA Turkish motorship carrying 275 illegal immigrants and a 14-member crew was towed to safety on Sunday after issuing a distress signal late Saturday due to engine failure, as it was sailing 11 nautical miles west of the Peloponnese peninsula in rough seas.
The vessel was safely towed to the port of Katakolo shortly before noon on Sunday.
The motorship, identified as the "Akdag", issued an SOS at 9 p.m. Saturday as it was running adrift in 10-beaufort winds. The ship's captain told the Hellenic Navy's operations room that the vessel was carrying 275 illegal immigrants, most of them women and children, targeting disembarkation in Italy.
Greek coast guard vessels, rescue vessels and an all-weather helicopter were immediately despatched to the distressed motorship's assistance, while doctors and ambulances also rushed to Katakolo, in Pyrgos municipality, Ilia prefecture, on standby.
The Turkish ship, which was seized, reportedly sailed from Turkey and was headed to Italy, according to the skipper, who was arrested.
Twelve of the children and several adults aboard the vessel were hospitalised in Pyrgos, mostly suffering from hypothermia and dehydration. As soon as a count of the illegal immigrants is completed, they will be taken to the old Pyrgos hospital facility.
Staff members from the Athens-based infectious diseases control centre are due to arrive at the facility on Monday to perform medical examinations and tests on the illegal immigrants, who hailed from Iraq, the Palestinian territories, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey, according to a coastguard spokeswoman.
 Events mark 95th anniversary of Samos' union with GreeceCelebrations marking the 95th anniversary of the island of Samos' union with Greece culminated on Sunday, with merchant marine, Aegean and island policy deputy minister Panos Kammenos representing the government.
A te deum was held in the morning, officiated by Metropolitan Efsevios of Samos and Ikaria.
Afterwards, Kammenos and the local authorities laid wreaths at the statue of Themistocles Sofoulis, followed by a parade by pupils, scouts and Army divisions.
The celebrations concluded with a display of local traditional dance by folk dance troupes.
 Thessaloniki mayor given Melbourne 'City Key'MELBOURNE (ANA-MPA - S. Hatzimanolis)
Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos was given Melbourne's "City Key" on Sunday by the Australian city's Mayor John Shaw "in recognition of his efforts to create good relations and cooperation between the two cities."
Th ceremony took place in the presence of thousands of members of the Greek community and Australians, during an outdoor event organised in Melbourne's main square to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of the twinning of the two cities.
Papageorgopoulos is due to conclude his visit to Melbourne on Sunday, with the inauguration of the Greek Cinema Festival, and then he will be visiting Adelaide and Sydney.
 Panathinaikos edges AEK 2-1 to take lead in Super LeagueResults of the Greek Super League soccer matches played over the weekend:
Asteras Tripolis - Olympiakos Piraeus 1-0
Veria - Apollon Kalamaria 0-2
OFI Crete - Levadiakos Livadia 1-2
PAOK Thessaloniki - Ergotelis Crete 1-0
Atromitos Athens - Aris Thessaloniki 1-2
Panionios Athens - Xanthi 3-2
Iraklis Thessaloniki - Larissa 1-1
Panathinaikos Athens - AEK Athens 2-1
Standings after eight weeks of play:
Panathinaikos 19 points
 Cloud, showers on MondayCloud and showers are forecast throughout most of the country, as well as snow in mountainous regions in northern Greece, with wind velocity reaching 3-17 beaufort. Temperatures in Athens ranging from 7C to 20C, and in Thessaloniki from 5C to 16C.
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