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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-09-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis calls for a stable government able to take fast decisions
  • [02] PASOK leader Papandreou speaks in Kozani
  • [03] KKE SG addresses secondary school teachers
  • [04] SYRIZA leader Alavanos addresses Athens rally

  • [01] PM Karamanlis calls for a stable government able to take fast decisions

    Prime Minister and New Democracy (ND) party president Costas Karamanlis addressed an election rally in the city of Agrinio, western Greece, on Tuesday evening, calling for a stable government that can take speedy decisions and proceed with boldness and decisiveness in the deep changes which the country needs.

    ?The citizens select positively, choose for a stable course towards the future, they ask of us to take Greece forward with unity and national unanimity. The supporters of polarization have remained by themselves,? Karamanlis told his audience.

    He also posed to his audience the question, ?should we return to yesterday, to populism and insecurity, or we will insist on progress, development, responsibility and on reforms? My faith in the judgment of the citizens is unshakable. Society is mature. The citizens judge, compare and choose.? Karamanlis again asked, as he did at Iraklio, Crete, on Monday, ?for us to put down the party banners, to hoist the symbol of unity, of history and of our culture.?

    ?Hoist the symbol of our common struggles, the Greek flag. Our flag reminds that there are targets which exceed party dividing lines and that there are common targets, national targets. We can make these targets practice, if understanding prevails instead of conflicts,? Karamanlis emphasised.

    Making an account of his party's governance, Karamanlis said that as of March 2004 ?we had in front of us two roads: on the one hand populism and on the other responsibility. On one hand the hiding of the problems and on the other, the struggle for their solution. On one hand stagnation and decline and on the other, changes and reforms. We chose the difficult road. The road which leads with certainty and security to development and progress. We chose the policy of changes and of reforms.?

    The prime minister committed himself that all the "adjustments which the government has submitted for the abolition of injustices of the past will be voted immediately" and noted that these will be basic elements in the next budget, which will be implemented before the four-year period since March 2004 will be completed.

    The ruling ND came to power after winning the March 2004 general elections.

    Specifically, he said, ?we are setting up a national social cohesion fund for the support of the poorer households, we are granting from early 2008 the subsidy for large families, we are increasing the unemployment subsidy and the farmers‚ pensions and a new salary is being voted in favor of the Armed Forces and the Security Corps.?

    Premier Karamanlis referred at length to the government‚s policy for the strengthening of the regions. He noted that within the national strategic framework, 80% of the national and EU funds are being promoted for the regions and underlined that ?it is something which is happening for the first time and which radically changes the Greek regions. In the new period, fully implemented will be the greatest public works projects which the country has ever experienced: the Ionian highway, the Central Greece E65 motorway, the great motorways of the Peloponnese, the compeletion of the Egnatia Highway," in northern Greece.

    [02] PASOK leader Papandreou speaks in Kozani

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, addressing a rally in Kozani in western Macedonia on Tuesday night, appealed to voters to vote for a "progressive, effective, capable and creative government" in Sunday's general elections in the country.

    Papandreou insisted once again on appealing to voters of a leftist origin, saying that "Sunday's victory will be the victory of all the forces of democracy, progress and of the left."

    Papandreou said that PASOK guarantees national revival, national consensus, the national awakening and the unity of the Greeks, as well as the rebuilding of all that the country has lost and, indeed, even better than it was before.

    Responding to slogans shouted by the audience, the leader of PASOK stressed his differences from the way with which Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis ruled the country, placing emphasis on the phrase "I will not hide at the Maximos Mansion, I will always be close to you."

    Papandreou stressed that Sunday "is the time for the great decision and for the crucial vote. No vote must be lost, he said, adding that "a new contract with the people will be signed on Sunday and an end will be put to misery and decline and to those who wanted to take the country back to the past."

    He then outlined what he called dilemmas in Sunday's elections that include:

    "-A democratic and progressive party or a right wing and conservative party.

    "-PASOK or New Democracy in government.

    "-A PASOK government or poverty, a high cost of living, unemployment and insecurity.

    "-A PASOK government or going back to middle ages labour conditions.

    "-A PASOK government or an increase in VAT to 21 percent and an upsurge in the high cost of living.

    -A PASOK government or the collapse of the social state and the dissolution of public education and of the National Health System."

    "The reply to these dilemmas is one and only:a PASOK government, a government of a new change, of confidence, of hope and of prospects," he said.

    [03] KKE SG addresses secondary school teachers

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga addressed teachers of the 2nd Gymnasium-Lyceum in the Athens district of Galatsi, as the new school year kicked off throughout the country on Tuesday, voicing severe criticism of school books.

    "School books contain many irrational, anachronistic and anti-scientific ideas," she said, criticising at the same time "the methods of teaching emanating from these books."

    "It is the so-called anglo-saxon system which is currently met with strong reaction even in the countries of its origin," she claimed.

    Papariga told her audience that the new year will be more difficult "because the real value of their incomes is decreasing" and reiterated her party's proposal for a minimum salary of 1,700 euros in the sector.

    She noted that if schools came under the authority of local government institutions (OTA), labour relations in the teachers' sector would change radically, and teachers would be hired by OTA.

    [04] SYRIZA leader Alavanos addresses Athens rally

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alekos Alavanos addressed the party's main rally in a downtown Athens square on Tuesday evening, ahead of Sunday's general elections, stressing certainty that "we are experiencing the swan song of two-party rule."

    Alavanos refered at length to the positions of the two mainstream parties, ruling New Democracy (ND) and main opposition PASOK, on a strong government enjoying a majority in Parliament.

    "-They want a strong government so as to be able to break their election commitments, as all the governments have done until now.

    "-They want a strong government so as to be able to dismantle labour rights, to dissolve the social security system, to place the market in the universities, to revise article 24.

    "-They want a strong government so that they can term those who react minorities.

    "-They want a strong government so that they can continue to favour banking profiteering and the looting of the public sector.

    -They want a strong government so that they can have a weak society."

    Alavanos said that a strong government "means a signature on a blank piece of paper so that they can promote whatever they want," adding that "in the past there was the extortion concerning the lost vote. Now that the vote for two-party rule is considered to be the most lost one, they found the extortion of the lack of governance."

    Referring to relevant statements by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, the SYRIZA party leader wondered "really, who is the prime minister threatening, when he is extorting that if he does not have a majority he will take the country to the polls again? Is it maybe the thousands of new hostage contract workers who he has left out of the (interior minister Prokopis) Pavlopoulos decree?".

    Criticising the PASOK party as well, Alavanos said that for 3.5 years it had "watched with perplexity SYRIZA exercising opposition to the government in Parliament and in the streets."

    Alavanos added that the main opposition party "is coming once again shortly before the elections and speaks generally and vaguely of progressive majorities and post-election cooperations."

    "We shall continue to cooperate widely with the people of PASOK, with all those who we found ourselves with throughout the entire previous period, but we shall not cooperate with its leadership because we cannot support the policies that we fought against harshly throughout the entire previous period," he said.

    Focusing as well on the recent wildfires and on the ecological problems facing the country, Alavanos criticised both big parties, saying that "they are ecologists of conferences and of receptions, ecologists of the camera, of the balcony and of political communication."

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