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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-09-08

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou urges 'new change' at elections

  • [01] Papandreou urges 'new change' at elections

    Continuing under a Costas Karamanlis government would mean continued catastrophe, main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou claimed on Saturday while addressing a pre-election rally in the northern Greek city of Kavala.

    Countering what he said were ruling New Democracy's arguments that the country will descend into chaos without Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, Papandreou said he presented his own proposal for the renewal of the nation and stressed that there was another choice, that of a "new change".

    PASOK's leader focused his criticism on the issue of the bonds scandal and recent revelations in the press, saying that these had revealed events "that we did not expect from any party in Greece".

    He referred to "attempts to cover up the scandal of the mobile phone tapping and the scandal of the 'cronies', the wounding of the dignity of Greeks, a country without government and the plundering of social insurance funds with the gold commissions of the huge bonds scandal."

    According to Papandreou the commission from the bond transactions had gone into the pockets of people associated with the ruling party, while there were daily revelations about new bank accounts and new clandestine and offshore links.

    "The prime minister is continuing to cover up, to be afraid, to be a captive of interests and unfortunately an accomplice," Papandreou added, raising a rhetorical question about whether one could trust such as prime minister.

    Answering his own question, the main opposition leader stressed that enough was enough and that ND did not deserve a second chance, while Greece did not deserve to continue on its downhill course.

    He accused the government of manipulating justice, of incompetence, of creating conflict and clashes with youth and of abandoning farmers to middlemen, cartels and bureaucracy.

    Papandreou then accused the government of having a secret agenda that, among others, included an increase in VAT to 21 percent, dismantling the state education and health systems, increasing ND's grip on the state and attacking the social insurance rights of the workforce, greater services to the interests of big business and selling off the property of the Greek people.

    A new change will be the clear-cut answer of the Greek people, Papandreou said and promised to carry out a series of measures to boost low and middle incomes.

    He also referred to the problems of Kavala and the neighbouring prefectures of Drama and Xanthi, accusing the ruling party of double talk and disdain for the regions, and pledging to develop Kavala through a number of measures, including raising the status of its port to one of national importance and a gateway to the Balkans, making the airport at Chrysoupolis international, and the foundation of a Social Movements Institute and a Middle Eastern Studies department.

    "Our vision is to make northern Greece a protagonist in the wider Balkan region," Papandreou stressed and called the party's supporters to rally to its support during the elections on September 16.

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