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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-02-05

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Papandreou: 'Worst gov't of post-junta era'
  • [02] Gov't: PASOK 'backpedalled' on Article 16

  • [01] Papandreou: 'Worst gov't of post-junta era'

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou on Sunday evening, during debate on his party's 'no confidence' motion in Parliament, charged that the government "is the worst government of the post-junta era."

    "You achieved something very difficult, to become the worst government of the post-junta era, even surpassing the (1990-1993) Mitsotakis government. For this reason, we say enough is enough," he said.

    Referring to the call for early elections, Papandreou said "the economic issues, issues concerning education, or the national issues by themselves are enough for us to call for elections."

    The PASOK leader said that 1.5 trillion drachmas were paid to enable the Greek economy to exit from supervision, stressing that "for three years your (finance) minister has been decreasing the income of the Greek citizen. He is making the high cost of living to soar. In a serious government, this minister would have gone home, but in this one he remains."

    Commenting on the education minister, Papandreou said "society has become polarised and an opportunity has been lost for consensual changes", adding that "in any case the question is one: who do the Greek people trust to handle the major issue of education, the law on universities, the Article 16."

    Speaking in the same spirit, the PASOK leader accused the government of "favouritism for banks with huge profits."

    On the question of foreign policy, Papandreou said "you are absent from European issues, tourists in Lucerne, absent from developments in the Balkans and Kosovo. Without a strategy, you are obliged to watch the pendulum of Greek-Turkish issues between tension and retrogression."

    [02] Gov't: PASOK 'backpedalled' on Article 16

    Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Monday attacked main opposition leader George Papandreou, accusing him of backpedalling from a revision of Article 16 of the Constitution in a bid to consolidate his grip on his own party, PASOK. He also criticised what he said were efforts by Papandreou to "convert acrimony into politics", stressing that this would in no way benefit the country.

    Holding up a copy of the newspaper "To Vima" issued on December 10 last year, which headlined an interview where Papandreou explained his reasons for supporting a revision of article 16 in order to allow the foundation of private universities in Greece, Roussopoulos accused PASOK's leader of lacking "seriousness and responsibility".

    "The Greek people need ... leaders who mean what they say and put it into action, not those that beat a disorderly retreat within a short space of time," Roussopoulos added.

    The spokesman stressed that after 20-odd years of being a lone voice of support for revising article 16 within PASOK, Papandreou was now backing down at a time when he was a party leader and had the power to turn his views into action, forced into retreat due to internal party problems.

    In response to questions, Roussopoulos said he had brought attention to the interview in an attempt to demonstrate the discrepancy between the PASOK leader's words and deeds.

    "Three years ago, Mr. Papandreou used sweet, mellifluous rhetoric to promise Greek citizens a new philosophy, a new character and a new political discourse. Now he appears to have abandoned them. As the prime minister so rightly said last night, Mr. Papandreou has not succeeded in changing his party, his party has changed George Papandreou," Roussopoulos added.

    In a surprise move on Friday, Papandreou tabled a motion of 'no confidence' against the government and demanded early elections, while also announcing that his party was withdrawing from debate on revising key articles of the Constitution. The government and ruling New Democracy charged that this was merely a ploy for PASOK's leader to back out of voting for a revision of Article 16, which is openly opposed by a handful of high-ranking PASOK deputies and cadres.


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