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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-11-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PASOK National conference to end on Sunday
  • [02] KKE's Papariga analyses post-election climate
  • [03] Classical Marathon ends in Athens

  • [01] PASOK National conference to end on Sunday

    Main opposition PASOK's national conference will end on Sunday with final addresses by the three candidates for the party's leadership, current PASOK president George Papandreou and high-ranking party officials Evangelos Venizelos and Costas Skandalidis.

    PASOK members and officials continued to address the party's National Conference on Sunday morning, referring to the causes for PASOK's election defeat and many declaring their support for one of the three candidates.

    Among Sunday's speakers was former minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who did not clearly back any of the three and said the primary goal should not be the election of a new leader but to create a framework of proposals for changing the party - a call also picked up by PASOK Political Council member Paris Koukoulopoulos.

    Senior party member and former minister Vasso Papandreou stressed the need for mass participation and flawless execution of the vote on November 11, saying that these would judge the success of the election process, while noting her support for George Papandreou.

    Others declaring support for Papandreou on Sunday included former minister Christos Papoutsis, Giannis Dimaras, Vaggelis Papachristos, PASOK MEP Mary Matsouka, Drama MP Christos Aidonis, Thanassis Tsouras, Katerina Batzeli who stressed that the "Right cannot be defeated without ideology" and PASOK spokesman Giannis Ragousis.

    In the Venizelos camp were National Council member Stefanos Manikas, former minister Christos Verelis who said that PASOK was an '80s party that needed to modernise for the 21st century, Political Council member Nikos Bistis and Tonia Antoniou.

    Those speaking in favour of the positions expressed by Skandalidis included Vaggelis Argyris.

    Earlier, on Saturday afternoon, PASOK organised a successful simulation of the election process to be followed on November 11, with the transmission of the results on a computer network and checks against possible double voting. A simulated double voting attempt was instantly detected and rejected by the system.

    The simulation was monitored by many of the 3,500 computer operators that will take part in the election, who were earlier addressed by Papandreou and Venizelos.

    Papandreou stressed that not even the Greek State had attempted what PASOK was doing with this system, which he described as more advanced and perfected than an equivalent process used in Italy.

    Venizelos raised the issue of participation rates, stressing that a large number of citizens had to be persuaded to cast their vote because "they are voting for the future of the country" and that the target should be to raise the one million votes cast in 2004 with two million votes in 2007.

    "If we don't exceed one million, we will have a negative omen for PASOK's future," he added.

    [02] KKE's Papariga analyses post-election climate

    In an interview with the Sunday issue of the left-wing paper "Rizospastis", Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga carried out an in-depth analysis of the political climate following the latest general elections and noted that "post-election developments contain possibilities for the popular movement".

    Pointing to the current crisis in main opposition PASOK - which she predicted would continue after the party's leadership election - and the difficulties being faced by the government with its slim majority and internal frictions, Papariga said that the situation had arisen "under the influence of popular discontent, of the positive and hopeful elements highlighted in the popular vote, independent of the fact that the popular anger and experienced were not fully expressed".

    She underlined that the problems in the two main parties should not for a moment allow the need for popular uprising against an "anti-working-class storm of government measures" to take second place.

    Papariga also commented on the possible role of the smaller opposition parties Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and the right-wing Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), saying that both seemed to be waiting for the moment when their assistance would be sought by one of the two larger political factions, PASOK in the case of SYRIZA and ruling New Democracy in the case of LAOS.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga.

    [03] Classical Marathon ends in Athens

    The 25th Athens Classic Marathon was concluded successfully beneath an overcast sky on Sunday, with Kenya's Benjamin Kiprotich Korir coming first for the men with a time of 2:14:40 and 37-year-old Svetlana Ponomarenko of Russia winning the women's race with a time of 2:33:19. The end of the race was marred, however, by the injury of an athlete who was hit by a tram.

    The best Greek runner and 11th in the overall line-up was Giorgos Karavidas of AEK with a time of 2:23:51, who also won the Panhellenic Championship held at the same time as the marathon.

    The "Classic" marathon held in Athens was based on the legendary run carried out by the ancient runner Pheidippides when he ran all the way from the battlefield of Marathon to the ancient city of Athens to bring news of the Greek victory over the Persians and traces the actual route he is believed to have taken. Pheidippides' effort inspired the modern Marathon event, which covers roughly the same distance as that between Marathon and central Athens and was created for the first-ever modern Olympic Games of 1896.

    This year's race was not without its own drama, however, when one of the athletes taking part was seriously injured by an oncoming tram close to the finish line at the Panathenian Stadium.

    According to police, the injured athlete was a member of the Kenyan team born in 1979 and had failed to turn left at the Panathenian Stadium where the race ended but continued going straight ahead, running into the tram at the junction of Vassilissis Olga and Ardittou streets.

    The injured man was taken to the KAT accident hospital in a serious condition and an inquiry was launched to see if the required safety regulations had been observed by the authorities.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of the 24th Athens Classic Marathon held in 2006.

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