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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-09-14

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Papandreou unveils economic, social positions
  • [02] Latest opinion poll unveiled

  • [01] Papandreou unveils economic, social positions

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou provided a comprehensive overview of his and his party's policy during a televised address at the 73rd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on Saturday evening, the customary venue for political leaders' to unveil party planks every autumn.

    Speaking on Saturday evening, Papandreou emphasised that a future PASOK government will increase social spending and thoroughly modify the tax system in favour of low-income strata at the expense of higher income groups.

    Among others, Papandreou, a former minister in several previous PASOK governments and one-time foreign minister in two consecutive Simitis governments, said he would abolish a unified property levy and reinstitute taxes on large property holdings.

    Moreover, he said Church of Greece and related ecclesiastical holdings would lose tax exempt status for properties that are financially exploited.

    Papandreou repeated that PASOK envisions a tax system where all income from work, stock transactions and dividends, rentals, excessive capital values etc., will be taxed via a unified rates scale. He also said a tax-free ceiling will be common for all taxpayers, whereas the tax-free rate for self-employed professionals (plumbers, electricians etc.) will be reinstituted, a direct criticism of the government's plans to institute objective tax criteria for numerous categories of self-employed professionals in order to stamp out tax evasion.

    Other measures he favors include reducing the tax rate for profits that are re-invested in the business or for creating new jobs.

    In pointing to areas where he would increase spending, Papandreou referred to an "emergency solidarity bonus" and a heating oil subsidy for low income households, merely adding that funding for these programmes will come from "extra state revenues", increased fuel prices and from taxation of major companies' and banks' "excessive profits".

    In closing the economic and social policy segment of his address at a TIF convention hall, Papandreou promised to spend 7 percent of annual GDP on education and research.

    The PASOK leader mostly avoided attacking the government at length, charging however that "Greece is bankrupt, Greeks are becoming poorer and ministers are getting rich."

    Foreign affairs

    In touching on foreign policy issues at the end of his address, Papandreou cited the recent developments in the Caucasus as affecting outstanding issues for Greece's foreign policy in the Balkans and Cyprus.

    In terms of relations with neighbouring Turkey, he reiterated that the Cyprus issue was an "open wound", while echoing Cyprus President Demetris Christofias' vision for a re-united Cyprus, whose interests and prosperity of all its citizens is guaranteed.

    Finally, he said it was unacceptable that any other issues be raised in relation to the FYROM "name issue", calling on the government to categorically reject any such prospect in the recently tabled Nimetz proposals.

    Caption: Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou. ANA-MPA

    [02] Latest opinion poll unveiled

    Another three major opinion polls were published on Sunday in a same number of newspapers, as the political season began in earnest with political leaders' customary presence at the Thessaloniki International Fair and the end of summer.

    Specifically, a poll published in the Sunday edition of "Kathimerini" listed 61 percent of respondents as saying the Karamanlis government's re-election last year did not benefit the country, whereas 67 percent gave a negative opinion on efforts to deal with daily problems. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said the rate of the government's work was "slow". Additionally, 49 percent of respondents said the economy was their biggest concern, followed by unemployment, 43 percent, and inflation, 25 percent.

    The poll was conducted by the firm Public Issue between Sept. 4-9.

    Conversely, a poll in a Sunday weekly gave the difference between ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK at 0.4 percent: 27.1 percent to 26.7 percent. The Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) follows with 10.5; the Communist Party (KKE) with 7.2 percent and the Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) 3.9 percent.

    In terms of respondents' predictions for which party will win the next general elections, ND was picked by 47.5 percent to 20.2 percent for PASOK.

    The poll, conducted by the firm Alco between Sept. 9-12, was published in the weekly "Proto Thema".

    Finally, an opinion poll published in another Sunday weekly gave ND a 1.1 percentage point lead over PASOK, namely, 30.9 percent to 29.8 percent. SYRIZA follows with 13.2 percent; KKE with 7.5 percent and LA.OS with 4.7 percent.

    In terms of predictions of electoral victory, 68.3 percent of respondents picked ND; 24.1 percent pick PASOK. Karamanlis leads Papandreou by 50.3 percent to 30.5 percent on the question of most qualified for premier.

    The poll, conducted by the firm Rass, was published in the weekly "Paron".

    ANA-MPA file photo


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