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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-03-06

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Opinion poll: Ruling party leads in voter preference
  • [02] President urges tougher sanctions for corrupt state workers
  • [03] Opposition congress delegates back separation of church and state
  • [04] Level of Evros River may rise due to rain and melting snow in Bulgaria

  • [01] Opinion poll: Ruling party leads in voter preference

    The ruling New Democracy (ND) party has 36.1% support among voters, 4.1 percentage points ahead of the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) at 32%, according to an survey conducted by Opinion for the Sunday Eleftherotypia newspaper.

    Next in voter preference comes the Communist Party of Greece at 5.9%; the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology, 3.7%; and Laos, 3.5%.

    ND leader Costas Karamanlis has backing of 49% for the post of premier, which he holds; followed by PASOK leader George Papandreou at 32.3%.

    Tipped to win national elections is ND at 59.1%, ahead of 21.4% for PASOK. The party best able to govern is ND at 36.2%, with 25.4% for PASOK, the poll showed

    Asked to name the main problems in the country, 72.9% of respondents opted for the economy, followed by unemployment (58.8%), the Church (7.8%), education (7.1%), corruption (also 7.1%), pollution (6.0%), hospitals (5.6%), crime (also 5.6%), and the judiciary (2.0%).

    In order of popularity among senior clerics, Archbishop Anastasios of Albania ranked top, followed by Patriarch Vartholomeos in Istanbul in second place, and Arcbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece running third.

    [02] President urges tougher sanctions for corrupt state workers

    Tougher sanctions should be imposed on corrupt judicial and other state employees that would underline the ethical nature of the crime and blacken their names in society, the president of the republic, Kostis Stephanopoulos, said in hard-hitting statements on Sunday.

    "Existing penalties, some lacking and others unenforced, require a supplement. For me, they do not go far enough, as things stand, these penalties concerning liberty imposed by the courts. Fines that fall under the category of penal sanctions also do not go far enough, in my opinion.," Stephanopoulos told a public event in Hania, which included the deputy public order minister representing the government.

    " I think we could put out a new law to establish another type of penalty for the courts to pronounce - ethical sanctions, for a person who commits these acts to be declared unworthy and base. This would apply not only to judges but to all public employees who use their occupation for personal gain," the president said.

    Acknowledging that judges and other public employees were underpaid, he underlined that state finances were restricted, and salaries failed to justify corruption.

    [03] Opposition congress delegates back separation of church and state

    Delegates to a congress of the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) on Saturday came out strongly in favour of separation of church and state during a forum, also criticising the term in office of Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece.

    "We support safeguarding our values, the values of democracy, and our traditions of Hellenism and Orthodoxy. We do not, however, accept certain parts of the establishment using these for their own ends," PASOK leader George Papandreou said in a brief contribution to the debate.

    At the end of the congress, the party issued a resolution for broad-based talks on the separation of church and state.

    Separating the roles of the two institutions meant that the church would cast off dependence on the state, alien to its spiritual and social mission; and the state would be freed from practices foreign to Europe's constitutional culture, the resolution said.

    [04] Level of Evros River may rise due to rain and melting snow in Bulgaria

    Authorities said on Sunday that water levels of a river feeding the Evros in the north were slowly but steadily rising due to rain and melting snow in Bulgaria.

    A day earlier the Evros' water level had dropped below danger level but experts warned of possible new flooding within 48 hours as temperatures rose, washing down snow.

    Emergency services were on stand-by in case Evros' waters again started to swell.

    The minister of agricultural development and foods toured the area on Sunday to assess damage to crops and announce compensation for farmers.


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