|Saturday, 24 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-06-08
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 8 June 2009 Issue No: 3214
 PASOK tops Euro-elections; voter apathy at record levelRuling New Democracy (ND) fell behind main opposition PASOK party in Sunday's Euro-elections by a decisive 4 percentage points, reversing its previous second-place showing in the national election of Sept. 2007, while the level of absenteeism reached a record high of up to 48 percent -- unprecedented by Greek standards.
Based on the latest figures announced by Greece's interior ministry for the European Parliament elections, held on Sunday throughout the country, and with 90.28 percent of the vote tallied so far (18,537 election precinct out of 20,352), results show:
PASOK 36.75 percent; New Democracy 32.68; Communist Party of Greece 8.19; Popular Orthodox Rally 7.05; Radical Left Coalition 4.62; Ecologists-Greens 3.43, whereas the level of absenteeism reached nearly 48 percent.
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Sunday evening insisted that the poor showing by his ruling New Democracy (ND) during the European Parliament elections the same day will only increase his resolve to push forwards "on the path towards responsibility".
Karamanlis also pointed to the unprecedented, by Greek standards, absenteeism, which reaches near the 48-percent mark, saying that this characterises the political message from the 2009 Euro-elections and citizens' dissatisfaction.
Additionally, the prime minister said that citizens demand, now more so than ever, a more effective management of the ongoing economic crisis, "and this is the primary responsibility of the government."
"The election results, of course, do not please us. It is clear that a significant portion of ND voters chose to air their protest and send their message, namely, abstention. However, the results of the Euro-elections have a wider significance ... whatever cheering is far from citizens' message. Citizens primarily demand one thing: The highest possible effectiveness in dealing with the repercussions of the economic crisis," Karamanlis said in a nationally televised address from the Zappeion Hall in central Athens.
In conclusion, he said: "We recognise that certain behaviours (by high-ranking party cadres and former ministers) have bothered many, violating the principles I, myself, have set forth from the first moment when I assume the responsibility of the government's reins."
Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Sunday evening termed his party's performance in the Euro-elections as a "hope for a better tomorrow", at the same time noting that "the first major step towards turning a page for the country has been made."
The PASOK leader referred to an "overturning of the country's political situation", underlining that "everything begins today."
Stressing that there were no winners or defeated citizens, he said that what was defeated in Sunday's Euro-elections were "policies that must be overturned".
Papandreou also said his party's victory "is a victory of progressive forces, which opens the way for a major change, one that the country needs," noting that the results were "a condemnation of neo-liberal ideology and practice."
He also reminded that his party has been asking for national elections for some time now, "for the salvation of the country", adding that this demand has now become a "popular demand".
"The prime minister can no longer prevent Greek citizens from changing the course," Papandreou concluded.
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Sunday said her party will fully meet its obligations vis-ΰ-vis the working classes, whose condition will become even worse, as she said.
Papariga also said that KKE considers the total of votes it received on Sunday as positive, adding that the 2009 Euro-elections approach the percentages of the national elections, without however, being identical.
"KKE, with the support of the working classes, has courageously dealt with the provocations and again demonstrated that its tolerance," she said, adding: "we are not standing still. The system's goal is to obstruct our dynamism, not just the KKE and the popular movement, but we are in a position to ruin their plans," she said.
Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) party leader Alexis Tsipras on Sunday said the Euro-elections results "do not correspond either to the expectations of leftist voters or to our party's."
He added that the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), a Parliamentary coalition in which his party occupies a predominant position, "will examine, in a democratic manner, how it will overcome its weaknesses and take the necessary decisions in order for it to advance."
Terming as "explosive" the percentage of abstention in these elections, Tsipras said it was "a negative development", adding that SYRIZA would persist in its policies.
Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) president and founder George Karatzaferis spoke at his party's offices just after 9:30 p.m., where he stressed that "greater percentages mean greater responsibility".
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, commenting on Sunday evening on the outcome of the Euro-elections, said that there was a message for the government, for the New Democracy party and for the political system, adding that one must be skeptical about the fact that one out of two citizens did not vote.
Bakoyannis also said that one should also be skeptical about ND supporters who did not turn up to offer their support, the results will be examined, conclusions will be deduced and the government's policy will be adjusted where necessary.
Main opposition PASOK party Deputy Evangelos Venizelos, also referring to the Euro-elections, said that the result of the Euro-elections constitutes a crushing defeat for ND, while heralding a majority government for PASOK in the national elections.
Venizelos further said that "PASOK's victory is credited in its largest part to George Papandreou," and stressed that "as a matter of fact, an issue of elections is raised since the government does not possess substantive legitimacy and a lack of harmony exists between the government and the election result."
Venizelos said that the issue of abstention must also be examined.
President Papoulias: Europarliament must be strengthened
President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias said Sunday that the European Parliament is an institution that counterbalances the bureaucracy of Brussels, and needed to be strengthened, speaking to reporters afer he cast his vote in the Europarliament elections at the 154th polling station in Ioannina, northwestern Greece.
"Today is a very important day. It is an institution that balances out the bureaucracy of Brussels and must be strengthened," the President said.
PM Karamanlis casts vote in Thessaloniki
Prime minister Costas Karamanlis cast his vote in the European Parliament elections in Greece on Sunday morning, at the Aghios Eleftherios polling station in Thessaloniki.
The government's choice is clear, it will carry on with its policies, reforms and work for a better future for the country, the premier said afterwards.
"Today we vote for our representatives in the European Parliament. We vote for Greece's present and future in the European family. We vote for a strong Greece in a united Europe, for a more efficient and more social Greece with a stronger voice on the major international issues," Karamanlis said.
"At this critical crossroads, our choice is crystal clear, a given fact, and solid. With the citizen as our ally, we are moving forward. We are making the policies and advancing the reforms needed by the country. In other words, we are ensuring a better future for us all, with responsibility and specific work, not just in words," Karamanlis said.
PASOK leader Papandreou votes in Nea Erythrea
Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou cast his vote in the European Parliament elections in Greece on Sunday at the 1717th polling station in the northern Athens suburb of Nea Erythrea.
"Today is a day of choice on Europe and Greece. It is a day of great hope for a new beginning for every Greek citizen, for the Greece we want and the Greece we deserve," Papandreou said afterwards.
KKE leader Papariga: Now is the time for people to test their strength
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga voted on Sunday in the European Parliament elections in Greece at the 487th polling station in Athens.
"Now, when the vision of the European Union has frayed and cannot provide prosperity, security and welfare, it is the opportunity for the people to test their strength, in other words to 'aim well' today in the ballot box," Papariga said afterwards.
"We, on our part, will be consistent in the places of work, the factories, the offices, the fields," she added.
SYN leader Tsipras: At this hour, the strength is in the hands of the many
Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) leader Alexis Tsipras voted on Sunday in European Parliament elections in Greece at a polling station in the Ambelokipi district of Athens.
Tsipras called on voters to cast their ballots for his party, stressing: "At this hour, the strength is not in the hands of the mechanisms. At this hour the strength is in the hands of the many, who did not have power until now. It is in the hands of the youth, the unemployed, the low salary and pension earners".
"Each and every one of us is a drop of water, but all together we are a tumultous river and can change the political scene," he added in a statement afterwards.
LAOS leader Karatzaferis: Hope that reason will win over arrogance, verbosity
Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis cast his ballot in the European Parliament elections in Greece on Sunday at the 196th polling station in central Athens.
"We are awaiting the outcome of the ballot with a sense of responsibility, with optimism," he said afterwards.
"I want to believe that, tonight, reason will win over arrogance, and prudence will win over verbosity. It is time for all of us to stop talking and get to work, because Greece cannot wait any longer," Karatzaferis added.
 Foreign Exchange rates - MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.429
Pound sterling 0.886
Danish kroner 7.506
Swedish kroner 11.012
Japanese yen 138.58
Swiss franc 1.531
Norwegian kroner 9.041
Canadian dollar 1.578
Australian dollar 1.774
 4.2R trembler jolts N. Peloponnese, damage in Achaia hotelA light earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale jolted the northern Peloponnese and parts of west-central Greece at noon on Sunday.
The trembler, which was recorded at 12:00 noon at a distance of 150 kilometres west of Athens, with its epicentre in the sea northwest of Egio, was felt in the prefectures of Achaia, Corinth, Aetoloakarnania and Fokida.
The only damage initially reported was to a hotel near Patras.
 D.C. event for New Acropolis MuseumWASHINGTON (ANA-MPA)
An event entitled "The Secrets of Parthenon" was held here to celebrate the opening of the New Acropolis Museum this month.
The event was co-organised by the organisation "American Friends of the New Acropolis Museum" as well as the National Museum of American History following an initiative of the Greek embassy in Washington.
The celebration was held at the D.C. museum and aims to promote the museum and its treasures, including the repatriation of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum .
Former US presidential candidate and Mass. governor Michael Dukakis and former Clinton adviser George Stephanopoulos are the honorary presidents of the organisation.
 Alexandria Patriarch in KenyaNAKURO (ANA-MPA/N. Katsikas)
Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa officiated over the ceremony in which the foundations were laid for a new medical center in the enclosure of the Saints Raphael, Irene and Nicolaos in Kiamaina outside the city of Nakuru, some 150 kilometers from the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.
The "Aghios (Saint) Theodoros) medical center is the third such facility to be blessed by the Patriarch during his visit to Kenya.
The Patriarch stressed the importance placed by the Orthodox Church on the entire African continent, and its efforts to contribute to the medical care of its faithful in Arrica.
 Two foreign journalists arrested for sneaking into Greece at Evros estuary, illegal immigrant caught earlier at same pointTwo foreign journalists working for Finland's state television were arrested on Saturday afternoon by police of the Ferres border guard division for entering Greece through an unguarded passage at Aenisios at the Evros River estuary, police announced on Sunday.
The journalists, aged 49 and 25, said during questioning that they were trying to videotape and means of entry of illegal immigrants into Greece in the context of a television investigation.
A 34-year-old illegal immigrant was arrested at the same point earlier, at dawn Saturday.
All three detainees were due to appear before the Alexandroupolis public prosecutor.
 Firebombs thrown at police station in Patras, no damage causedA group of unknown assailants threw firebombs (molotov cocktails) at the 5th police precinct in the western port city of Patras.
According to eyewitnesses a group of youths, with their faces covered, approached the police station and threw six molotov cocktails.
The explosions caused a fire on the pavement, but did not spread to nearby parked cars or the precinct building itself.
The assailants fled on motorcycles immediately afterwards.
 Fair on MondayFair and slightly cloudy weather, and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 3-5 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 15C and 37C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with variable 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 20C to 37C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 18C to 34C.
 Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glanceThe European Parliament elections and speculation on the ensuing political developments dominated the headlines in Sunday's newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "They're sinking because they're not changing".
APOGEVMATINI: "Vote of responsibility - The country's future is at stake today".
AVGHI: "Enough is enough...SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left), now".
AVRIANI: "The 'music' on the Siemens scandal begins tomorrow".
CHORA: "Confidence in Costas (Karamanlis)".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "It will be hard for Costas (prime minister Karamanlis) to throw sixes".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The 'next-day' scenarios in ND and PASOK - The aftermath of the Europarliament elections".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Lost in the translation", opining that main opposition PASOK will emerge in first place while ruling ND will suffer heavy losses in Sunday's European Parliament elections.
ETHNOS: "Strong message for reversal and change of page".
KATHIMERINI: "Vote with messages for everyone (political parties)".
LOGOS: "The abstention rate is the main wager of today's Euroelections".
NIKI: "The ballot box sends message for change".
PARON: "For whom the bell tolls..."
RIZOSPASTIS: "Cast a vote for the KKE to strengthen the people's counter-attack".
TO VIMA: "PASOK awaits major victory".
VRADYNI: "Vote of responsibility".
 European elections - Official resultsNICOSIA (CNA/ANA)
Chief Returning Officer Lazaros Savvides announced the official results of the elections for the six members of the European Parliament from Cyprus, on Sunday at 2300 local time (2000 GMT).
The Democratic Rally (DISY) received 109,209 votes or 35.65%, AKEL 106,922 or 34.90%, the Democratic Party (DIKO) 37,625 or 12.28%, the
Movement of Social Democrats ΕΔΕΚ 30,169 or 9.85%, the European Party 12,630 or 4.12% and the Ecologists and Environmentalists Movement 4,602 or 1.5%.
 European elections: Party leaders concerned over high abstention rateNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Political party leaders have expressed concern over the high percentage of abstention in Saturday's elections to elect the six members of the European Parliament in Cyprus.
Based on preliminary assessments carried out by their parties, as well as exit polls, in view of the announcement of the official results on Sunday, when the last polling station in the EU closes, the leaders expressed their views on the outcome of the elections.
President of the Democratic Rally Nicos Anastasiades said his party achieved a clear victory in the elections with over 35.5%, adding that this is a percentage much higher than those the party received in the previous European elections, the last parliamentary elections and the first round of the presidential elections.
He expressed his full satisfaction, noting that ''the result is undoubtedly a vote of confidence to the party'' and that ''we are now strong and the first political force in the country, and we have a great responsibility and a clear mandate,'' adding that the high abstention rate should be examined by all political parties.
General Secretary of ruling left-wing AKEL Andros Kyprianou expressed satisfaction over the result of the elections, noting that, according to the calculations of his party, the difference with right-wing Democratic Rally will be between 0.7% and 0.8%, and that the abstention of voters would be examined by his party.
Kyprianou said his party appears to be recording an increase of 7% compared to the previous European elections and 4% compared to the last parliamentary elections, adding that the result indicates that AKEL remains a strong political force, which can effectively support the President of the Republic and the government.
President of the Democratic Party Marios Garoyian said his party had received the messages from the results and assured it would find its way and return stronger in the next elections, noting that the high percentage of abstention had undoubtedly affected the party's strength.
He furthermore announced the beginning of a systematic, substantive and in depth analysis of the results and the reasons his party lost votes, adding that he has called meetings of the party's bodies to examine the situation.
President of the Movement of Social Democrats EDEK Yiannakis Omirou expressed satisfaction over the unofficial results of the elections, which gave the Movement a seat in the European Parliament, assuring that EDEK would fulfill its responsibilities towards the people of Cyprus. He also expressed concern over the high percentage of abstention.
''From our assessment so far and with the reservation of confirming the exit polls by the final official result, I would like to express our great satisfaction because our people responded warmly to the messages and the call of EDEK to elect a Cypriot Socialist MEP from EDEK, so that our country is represented in the great Socialist Group of the European Parliament,'' he said.
In Saturday's elections for the European Parliament there was an abstention rate of about 40%, which by local standards is rather high.
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