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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-10-17

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM: Local gov't election results reflect approval of ND's strategy, policy
  • [02] Ecumenical Patriarch speaks at police academy

  • [01] PM: Local gov't election results reflect approval of ND's strategy, policy

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday chaired a meeting of his ruling New Democracy (ND) party's political council, which analysed the results of Sunday's first round of nationwide municipal and prefectural elections.

    He said that voters had indisputably disapproved of the strategy chosen by main opposition PASOK party in the local government elections, adding that the effort for manufactured political acrimony and polarisation had been an utter failure, and was totally ignored and disapproved of by the Greek people, proving that fanaticism has receded and that the strategies of the past have no room in modern-day Greece.

    Karamanlis continued that the election results indicated approval of ND's strategy, of the policy the government was applying on local government, of the strategy it followed in the pre-election period, and of its political responsibility.

    "I want to repeat that this government has no obsessions or prejudices, it is not dogmatic," the premier said, adding that the government did not claim to be infallible, but was constantly seeking the better.

    "We do not reject criticism. What we do reject, however, is falsification of the reality, distortion of the truth, sterile contention," he said, adding that the election results confirmed that those practices were also rejected and condemned by the citizens.

    The government, he said, was acting with prudence and perspicacity, and does not reconcile itself with stagnation, but was instead placing strong foundations for the economy, and focusing its attention on the Greek periphery.

    "We are proving in action that we are following a policy of responsibility, creating a policy that strengthens the confidence of the citizens. We are determined to break the vicious circle of populism that shares out before the elections but takes back after the elections, in the end doing injustice to the financially weaker," Karamanlis stressed, adding that his government was "determined not to mortgage the country's future and the sacrifices of the Greek people for short-lived partisan benefits".

    Karamanlis stressed that "the strategy of changes and reforms demanded by the people and the new era will continue", adding that it was with this strategy that the government would move forward firmly and unwaveringly to the national elections in 2008.

    The prime minister further noted that the municipal/prefectural election results showed that in many cases the citizens had voted on the basis of local government criteria, "which was ND's goal".

    Karamanlis congratulated the relevant ministers for the impeccable manner in which the elections had been conducted, which he said proved the changes that have been effected in public administration, the level of the political culture, and the quality of democracy in Greece.

    He explained that a firm choice of the government was close cooperation, without distinction, with the local government representatives.

    The elected representatives of the local governments, he said, "are our natural allies on the road to a better Greece of tomorrow", and congratulated the new mayors and prefects, assuring them that the government's support in their task was a given fact.

    At the start of the meeting, Karamanlis congratulated ND-backed candidate and former health minister Nikitas Kaklamanis on his election as Mayor of Athens, saying "you made us proud, we are always at your side", as well as political council mayor Dimitris Tsigounis on his election Mayor of Leonidio for a 7th term.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, national defence minister Evangelos Meimarakis said that ND's choices of candidates had been backed at policy and individual level, adding that despite the acrimonious climate that PASOK attempted to create, ND had done better than expected in the first round of the local government elections. He said that the citizens had rejected the political polarisation and had sent a message to the government to carry on with its policy.

    "The citizens judged both (mainstream political party) leaders," he added.

    Culture minister George Voulgarakis said that ND's local government proposal had been greatly accepted.

    Regarding this coming Sunday's run-off elections, he said that the citizens would weigh the options and opt for the best choice, adding that the results of the first round indicated that the political climate has not changed.

    Development minister Dimitris Sioufas noted that this was the first time since 1982 that a ruling party had emerged with an increased percentage in local government elections, adding that the results reaffirmed the ruling party's political supremacy, and also the fact that the citizens condemned political acrimony and polarisation.

    [02] Ecumenical Patriarch speaks at police academy

    "Bloodshed in the name of religious fanaticism, one which instigated attacks on the Ecumenical Patriarchate by persons known and unknown, is still flowing," Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos stressed here on Tuesday during an address to the National Security School in northern Athens.

    The Patriarch's speech on interfaith dialogue was attended by the country's law enforcement leadership, local mayors, Metropolitans (Orthodox bishops) and police academies' cadets.

    Vartholomeos stressed that wars in the name of religion are "wars against religion itself", adding that religion defines the people and peace among religions means peace among the people.

    He added that after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, in particular, the Patriarchate has undertaken interfaith dialogue initiatives and within this framework he will visit several countries of different religious faiths. The interfaith dialogue was launched 30 years ago at the Patriarchate's initiative and now it has become "fashionable", he stated.

    The Patriarch himself has had 10 meetings with Muslim representatives and five with Jewish representatives within the framework of this dialogue. He stressed that visits to predominately Muslim countries is underway, while he has already visited Libya, Iran, Qatar, Bahrain, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

    The Ecumenical Patriarch also referred to the Patriarchate's initiatives for the protection of the environment and his tour of different countries within the framework of a high-profile environmental protection campaign.

    Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras, in greeting the Patriarch, describing him as a "beacon of Orthodoxy" and as a reference point for ethnic Greeks through the centuries and particularly, over the past five centuries, while Greek Police (EL.AS) Chief Anastasios Dimoschakis said the Patriarch and the Patriarchate is a bridge linking Hellenism, Orthodoxy and the international community.

    Caption: Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos addresses a special session at the National Security School in Athens on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2006. ANA-MPA / M. Kiaou.


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