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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-05-23

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Veteran politician, long-time communist party leader Florakis dies at 91
  • [02] Ministers visit display of Greek products in Japan
  • [03] Opinion Poll: Ruling party 3.6 points ahead of main opposition

  • [01] Veteran politician, long-time communist party leader Florakis dies at 91

    Veteran politician and former long-standing head of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Harilaos Florakis, died at home on Sunday, aged 91, after suffering cardiac arrest.

    Florakis was one of the first to be arrested and interred under Greece's 1967-1974 dictatorship, escaping abroad in 1972.

    He fought in the civil war that followed WWII then escaped to the former Soviet Union and Romania before illegally returning to Greece in 1954.

    Honourary president of the KKE, Florakis was a parliamentary deputy from 1974 until the early 1990s.


    The president of the republic, Karolos Papoulias, was first to send a message of condolence.

    "Harilaos Florakis lived side-by-side with history until his 91th year, treading the hardest and stoniest paths in our country with unrivalled steadfastness and faith in his ideas, honourably and valiantly, displaying a deep wisdom that welled up from his popular origins," Papoulias said.

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis described Florakis as the KKE's historic leader and a credit to his party.

    "Among the great political figures to mark the eventful second half of the 20th century, Florakis was a leader who made a personal and decisive contribution to overcoming the passions of the past and consolidating democracy and stability. This contribution has the acknowledgment and respect of History and of the public," Karamanlis said.

    The honorary president of the ruling New Democracy party, Constantine Mitsotakis, a veteran on the other side of the political camp, expressed abiding esteem for Florakis as a staunch front-line fighter who suffered persecution and many years of imprisonment.

    "He was the key player in the Left who contributed to a historic understanding with us, which allowed the creation of a multi-party government and national unity, marking a definitive end to the civil war," Mitsotakis said.

    "I worked with him in the framework of democracy, and I felt respect and friendship towards him," he added.

    The head of the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement, George Papandreou, described Florakis as a historic communist leader, a restless seeker displaying down-to-earth wisdom. "He won the respect of both political friends and foes."

    The leader of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Alexa Papariga, mourned the death Florakis.

    In a statement released on the KKE's website, Papariga said: "This is one of those deaths you are expecting, it was anticipated, but it's difficult to accept as Harilaos Florakis was so closely linked to the party's history, not only because he was its secretary general for very many years, but also because throughout his life, from ordinary member to senior official, he was an inextricable part of the KKE's history.

    "He was the person who in 1974 and beyond helped the party to stand on its feet after 27 years of illegality. In his person was displayed the whole character of the KKE, the party's contemporary character in the new conditions that arose after the fall of the junta."

    Among other public figures to send condolences were the leader of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology, Alekos Alavanos, parliament speaker Anna Psarouda Benaki, and Athens mayor Dora Bakoyanni.

    [02] Ministers visit display of Greek products in Japan

    NAGOYA (ANA/A Lidorikis) - Visitors to an exhibition of Greek products in Japan's largest chain of department stores on the weekend included Greece's ministers of finance, George Alogoskoufis, and agriculture, Evangelos Basiakos.

    The two officials visited the Matsusakaya store in Nagoya on the last day of an official visit to Japan timed to coincide with Expo 2005.

    Basiakos told reporters that the drive to promote Greek farm products would continue after the current display, which is the second at the 1,400-store chain in recent months. On show are items including olive oil, wine, beer, honey, mastic, soap, jewellery and tourist souvenirs.

    Alogoskoufis noted that the exhibition was initiated by the Japanese side working with the United Nations, proof that interest existed in the Japanese market for quality Greek brand products.

    [03] Opinion Poll: Ruling party 3.6 points ahead of main opposition

    The ruling New Democracy (ND) party came top in voter preference with a lead of 3.6 percentage points over the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) in an opinion poll published on Sunday.

    Of voters polled, 32.9% said they would back ND in a national election, followed by 29.3% for PASOK; 6.3% for the Communist Party of Greece; 3.0% for the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology; and 3.7% for LAOS. Of the total, 23.0% were uncertain or said they would cast a blank vote.

    Tipped to win elections would be ND according to 49.0% of respondents, followed by 30.3% for PASOK.

    Asked who was most suitable for the position of prime minister, 45.2% opted for the current premier, Costas Karamanlis; and 30.7% chose George Papandreou, head of the main opposition.

    The nationwide telephone poll was conducted by Rass for the To Paron newspaper.

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