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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-05-18
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Papandreou outlines model for governingPresenting his vision of the kind of prime minister he hopes to be in an upcoming PASOK government, main opposition leader George Papandreou raised transparency and hard work as his standard, during his opening address at his party's programme conference on Friday.
At the same time, PASOK's leader stepped up his already intense criticism of the government and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis by another notch, in one his strongest personal attacks against the prime minister so far.
"The countdown for the Right has begun," Papandreou told the conference, stressing that PASOK had learned from its mistakes and was now ready for "the day after".
According to Papandreou, the party's history had shown that every time that it honoured its relations with the people it had triumphed and Greece had prospered.
"When we pulled away from this relationship, the citizens turned their backs on us, when we strayed we allowed the Right to lead Greece into problems. Fortunately, these were always brief interludes, such as the one now," he said.
Describing the future he envisaged for Greece, Papandreou stressed that this had no room for models based on cheap labour, lower pay and fewer rights for the workers, in which big business was "in bed" with politics.
Outlining his model of leadership as prime minister, meanwhile, Papandreou said that his goal was to be a prime minister who contributed and produced works for the benefit of all Greeks, regardless of how they cast their vote.
PASOK's leader stressed that aimed to the kind of prime minister that "always told the truth and gave battle on the front line, armed with the trust of the citizens", promising redistribution of wealth in favour of the economically weak, an end of social injustice and 'legal perks' for big business, greater emphasis on development and creating jobs and a stronger environmental policy that would make Greece a leader in fighting climate change.
He was particularly critical of the present government's impact on the Greek education system - dismissing the changes it attempted as "conservative and autocratic anti-reforms" - and said that its departure from power would leave behind a "shambles, with universities closed, dialogue absent and riot police in the forefront".
"My own ambition is to be the prime minister that will work for the younger generation and the one that wants to link his name with the realisation of a historic demand: that school children no longer write 'I'm bored' in their exercise books," Papandreou said.
Underlining his commitment to transparency, PASOK's leader said his ambition was to put an end to corruption and the secret doling out of public money through measures like the mandatory posting of all ministerial decisions on the Internet or financial statements and double-entry book-keeping for all state organisations.
He also pledged to strike a blow against political patronage and nepotism, which he said had been the hallmark of the Karamanlis government, and to fully separate the government and the state from any sort of political party bureaucracy. Emphasising this point, he asked all party officials to convey what he said was "a simple message": that membership of PASOK would not lead to a cushy state-sector job or any sort of privilege relative to other citizens.
This would apply equally to trade union and cooperative officials, but also local government, he added.
Turning to the form his future government would take if PASOK won the elections, Papandreou said that it would govern "with steadfast moral and political values, with the interests of the country and the citizens as our compass and our programme as a road map".
The members of this government would be chosen "with respect for the money of the Greek people" and their ability to carry out PASOK's pledges and would not include those that "have already been evaluated negatively by the Greek people", he told the conference.
According to Papandreou, these were people who had become "corrupted by time, the syndrome of permanency, had succumbed to the glamour of being at the top and lost sight of the greater purpose".
At the same time, he said age would not be a factor in his choice: "I will use the experience and ability of tried, older officials. Old and new ministers must be worthy of the trust of the prime minister's and the citizens," he added.
He ended by predicting victory for PASOK in the next elections, stressing that the "river of victory cannot be turned back" and that the election would be a "referendum for democracy".
Papandreou lashes out at Karamanlis
In one of the strongest attacks on the prime minister to date, Papandreou said the prime minister's office had been converted into a "workshop for non-papers and black propaganda" based on lies and misrepresentation.
"All these non-papers show is that we have a prime minister and a government of non-results, non-ability, non-transparency, non-reliability, non-meritocracy, in short a non-government that only leaves behind it a 'blue' non-menclatura," Papandreou scoffed, in a reference to New Democracy's party colours.
He particularly questioned the prime minister's stance over the structured bonds and pension funds issue, accusing him of "withholding evidence of the scandal for the past 80 days" as well as the government's reluctance to investigate allegations against Supreme Court President Romylos Kedikoglou, saying that Karamanlis had "abolished the meaning of responsibility".
Papandreou again accused Karamanlis of undermining the country's position in Europe for the sake of party political games through a state audit that hit hardest against the poorer members of society and that economic measures announced the previous day by Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis were "crumbs" designed to dupe citizens into backing ND one more time in the elections.
Government spokesman, KKE, Synaspismos reply to Papandreou
Reacting to the attack from Papandreou, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said the government would not follow the path he had embarked on:
"Mr. Papandreou is building the new PASOK he has promised with old faces, old policies, old materials, with ideas from yesterday, ideas of polarisation and confrontation. We leave him to it. We let him have this road. Greek citizens look forward to a strong economy, to a stronger Greece than that left by PASOK," he said.
According to an announcement by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), meanwhile, Papandreou's promises were "worthless":
"[This is because] the days and works of PASOK are still fresh, but also because its leadership is bound to plutocracy and the European Union," KKE said.
The party said that PASOK's promise of to redistribute wealth was empty and that 80 percent of its programme was devoted to giving incentives and benefits to big business and the remaining 20 percent to poverty benefits in order to attract votes.
Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synapismos) leader Alekos Alavanos said on his part:
?I was impressed today by the position of the PASOK President, where on matters such as for a new European treaty which will be based on the social state and the detachment from the USA or on matters such as the opposition to the anti-ballistic shield, which today stirs Europe, no mention was made. And I would say that in such a Programme Conference, there was a programme deficiency,? Alavanos said.
?Finally, one can see the confrontation between the government and the main opposition party of to limit itself in who has more capable individuals to deal with corruption,? the Synaspismos leader added.
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