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

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Election underway for new leader of main opposition PASOK party
  • [02] Greece-Turkey natgas pipeline to be inaugurated Nov. 18
  • [03] SYN Congress slated for late January

  • [01] Election underway for new leader of main opposition PASOK party

    Polls opened at 9:00 a.m. Sunday throughout the country, in a crucial election for a new leader of the main opposition PASOK party, after a heated two-month campaign period.

    The election, initiated by incumbent PASOK leader George Papandreou following the party's defeat in general elections in September, in which the New Democracy (ND) government was re-elected, is being contested by three candidates: Papandreou and MPs and former ministers Evangelos Venizelos and Costas Skandalidis.

    The voting process will end at 6:00 p.m., with results due to be tallied by late Sunday night.

    Papandreou called the PASOK leadership election a "historic day for the country", in a statement after casting his vote at a polling station in Nea Erythrea.

    "It is a celebration of democracy and the citizen, and not an ordinary internal party procedure, which gives a voice to the people," Papandreou said, adding that the turnout by voting PASOK members and friends was "impressive".

    He further said that the election paved the way for changes and reversals to the present political system "which does not authentically expressed the people and their needs, nor the need for autonomy in politics".

    Venizelos, after casting his own vote at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) facilities in the northern Greek capital, called the day "critical but beautiful", adding that "something is changing".

    "Today is a critical, but beautiful, day for the democratic party, for the PASOK of the new era. Something is changing in PASOK, and also in the entire political system. The citizens are voting with optimism. They feel that a new page is opening, they are opening this page themselves," he said.

    He called on voters to persist, apologising for what he called organisational problems in the procedure, referring to the large queues that formed outside the polling stations set up at the TIF premises. "I call on them to persist, to exercise their democratic right. Because with the exercise of that right, we are jointly formulating the PASOK of the future. It is important that we consolidate democracy today in PASOK, to convert PASOK into a truly democratic party. It is important to overturn situations. It is important to give a prospect," Venizelos said.

    Skandalidis, after casting his vote at the Athens Municipality's Cultural Centre, expressed hope that "not only will we be together tomorrow, but that we will also go to the people, because the problems are ahead of us".

    [02] Greece-Turkey natgas pipeline to be inaugurated Nov. 18

    The Greece-Turkey natural gas pipeline will be inaugurated next Sunday by prime minister Costas Karamanlis and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and preparations for the inauguration were discussed during a meeting between Karamanlis and development minister Christos Folias.

    Following the ceremony at the Greek-Turkish frontier, natural gas will begin flowing via the pipeline.

    The minister also briefed Karamanlis on the results of his visit to Moscow, from where he returned on Saturday.

    Asked whether there was a complication regarding the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, Folias replied in the negative.

    "Quite the opposite, in fact. There was an exceptional climate in my meetings with my counterparts in Moscow, and everything is progressing well," Folias said.

    The development minister noted that this had been the first time he had met with his counterparts since his assumption of the ministry, adding that, at the meeting, everyone's determination for the speediest implementation of the plans was reaffirmed.

    Folias said that he further briefed the prime minister on a series of matters falling under his ministry and, asked what instructions Karamanlis had given him, he replied "intensification of the efforts in order to have the best possible results".

    The Greece-Turkey natgas pipeline will have a transport capacity of 11.5 cubic metres of natural gas annually, and the project will eventually extend to Italy via the construction of a Greece-Italy natgas pipeline, officially known as the "Interconnector Greece-Italy (IGI)", which is slated for completion in 2011 and comrpises a supplement to the Greek-Turkish pipeline, transporting an additional 8 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year.

    [03] SYN Congress slated for late January

    The 5th regular Congress of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Progress (SYN) will be held in late January, according to a decision reached on Sunday by the party's Central Political Committee following a two-day discussion.

    The Central Political Committee also authorised the party's Platform Committee to complete the Text of Positions (platform) that has already been unanimously approved as the basis. The Text of Positions will be finalised at a new meeting of the Central Political Committee on Wednesday, November 21.

    Addressing the opening session of the Central Political Committee meeting on Saturday, SYN leader Alekos Alavanos had urged that the Congress take place before Christmas.

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