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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-09-28
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 PM: Nothing will obstruct the truthNothing will obstruct the truth, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis underlined on Friday during a televised address before members of ruling New Democracy (ND) party's central committee, stressing that there would be no tolerance for any illegality while at the same time challenging possible internal party dissenters to directly air their views. Karamanlis said he had exhibited great patience and tolerance with certain cadres' public statements and personal ambitions, but warned that there was a limit to his patience, and that he would not accept attitudes that undermined common efforts or harmed the party.
Karamanlis further said that the government understood citizens' problems, adding that it was advancing a plan for tackling those problems. Furthermore, he adamantly ruled out the prospect of a government reshuffle, and challenged dissenters: "Whoever disputes me, let him confront me face-to-face".
Karamanlis warned that he would not succumb to coercion, nor would he tolerate continuous snipping at the government. "The prime ministership is not my purpose. My vision is to serve my country".
Karamanlis referred to recent criticism by party MPs and cadres, noting that the views and recommendations were welcome, "but not, however, undermining and personal strategies ... I have displayed tolerance to personal strategies. I have displayed tolerance for and patience even with exaggerations. Butâ¦ there are limits to tolerance for such attitudes and disdain of the party. Let each and every one assume their responsibilities. We are here to advance the collective interest," Karamanlis stressed.
The prime minister said that he does not deny that mistakes and omissions have been made. "I have a clear picture, we must all hear the citizens. I always seek the best for the country, in the knowledge that there are difficulties and problems."
Referring to the political scene over the past month, he said some quarters were cultivating a climate of disdain and disinformation "that overshadows the government's work", adding that "rumor-driven politics is overshadowing our work", while stressing that "it is our duty to not ourselves disdain our efforts, we must protect the party".
Karamanlis further spoke of the scandal-mongering and climate of political disdain being cultivated "by those who oppose all changes", warning that some quarters were attempting to hurt the government and manipulate public opinion.
Responding to the recent calls by party cadres for changes in the composition of the government and the party officials, Karamanlis explained that there are two types of government changes: changes in policies, and changes in faces. However, he continued, such decisions are not taken for the sake of impressions or evasion.
On the furor regarding exchanges of property between the Mt. Athos monastery of Vatopedi and the State, which have drawn fierce criticism and are the object of a probe launched by a Supreme Court prosecutor, Karamanlis said "we have taken, and are taking, all the necessary measures to protect the public interest".
"No aspect of the case will remain in the dark. We have confidence in the justice system and are awaiting the outcome of the inquiry," Karamanlis said and, in reference to the current talk of scandals, the premier clarified that "there is no tolerance of any illegality, nothing will remain unclear".
On the international economic crisis, he said it has impacted national economies, including Greece's, as well as the everyday lives of the people, but clarified that the consequences were smaller for the Greek economy because it has been "shielded" by the changes and reforms advanced by the government over the past few years.
"Things have become more difficult for everyone, and for the daily lives of the citizens. We comprehend their demands, have full knowledge of the problems, and are carrying on with the changes and reforms," the prime minister said.
In a criticism of main opposition PASOK, Karamanlis warned that the problems cannot be solved through populist promises.
"Some quarters are promising billions of euros. Where will this money come from? Where will they take the debts and problems? Are they forgetting that the interest payments on the debts we inherited have reached 10 billion euros a year?"
Karamanlis further clarified that he would not give in to "temptations" and would not resort to handlings that could prove catastrophic in the future, and that he would not dole out false promises because the (political) climate has become 'heavy'.
Giving account of the government's work thus far, he listed the fundamental commitments that have been fulfilled, stressing that the government's first priority from here on would be to tackle the social problems and strengthen the social protection index.
Main opposition PASOK party spokesman George Papaconstantinou on Friday responded to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' earlier address by charging that the "government is a step before the exit", referring to the prime minister's speech at the ruling New Democracy (ND) central committee meeting.
Papaconstantinou said Karamanlis "turned his back" on society, referred only to the ruling party's internal issues, saying this is an indication that the premier is unable to solve ND's problems as well as the country's impasses.
"Mr. Karamanlis sent the bill to Greek citizens by speaking as if there wasn't a crisis in the country. It is obvious that Mr. Karamanlis doesn't or is incapable of providing solutions. The country needs an exit plan from the crisis, a turn of course. The country needs a new government," he concluded.
KKE For her part, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga referred to the PM's speech and what she called speculation over cooperation between main opposition PASOK party and the leftist Synaspismos, speaking in a press conference after the PM's address. "The prime minister's forceful speech was mostly directed at ND party cadres," Papariga said, while referring to "brutally anti-popular" government policy. Referring to the rumored cooperation between PASOK and Synaspismos, Papariga accused them of playing a political game of impressions with the purpose of winning over more voters, while she also rejected the six-point proposal presented to PASOK by SYRIZA Parliamentary group president Alekos Alavanos, terming it as sketchy. On the issue of the Vatopedi Monastery furor, she suggested that any act involving the giving up of publicly owned land should be stopped and also calling for the protection of small property owners. Papariga blamed both the ND and PASOK governments for the current situation, accusing them of being involved in "political dealings" with the monasteries. Opposition "The prime minister's address to the ruling party central committee was characterised by a Synaspismos statement as a "domestic discussion that does not concern the Greek society which experiences the consequences of the policy followed by the government of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis." "Workers, young people, the financially weak, have no interest in whether a government minister or adviser is being removed from their post or in a likely government reshuffle when the essence of the implemented policy remains unchanged," a statement read.
Finally, Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) leader George Karatzaferis highlighted what he called the absence of an apology given Karamanlis in his speech.
"We have today watched Mr. Karamanlis speak in animated tones without an apology. We saw many crescendos, but the rhythm remains the same. Too many 'I's' and not enough proposals," he said.
DM Meimarakis, Zagoritis Former ND secretary and current Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis suggested that a vote should be held on all issues put before the central committee, pointing out that the proposal made by MP Petros Tatoulis for an extraordinary convention should top the list. Meimarakis also sent a message to dissenters, stressing that any decisions reached will have to be respected. He also stressed that when joining a collective body it should be regarded as self-evident that part of our independence will be lost.
Finally, ND Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis noted that the party has proved that it is an open political formation, with values and an indisputable leader in the person of Costas Karamanlis.
Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis
 Greek Superleague resultsOlympiakos Piraeus acquired a co-occupant atop the Greek Superleague standings over the weekend as it left two points on OFI Crete's pitch on Saturday in a 0-0 tie. Meanwhile, PAOK Thessaloniki joined Olympiakos atop the standings with a 1-0 home victory on Sunday against cross-town rivals Aris Thessaloniki.
Results of the 4th day of the Greek Superleague:
OFI Crete - Olympiakos 0-0
Panserraikos Serres- Larissa 1-3
Iraklis Thessaloniki - Panthrakikos 0-0
Levadiakos - Asteras Tripolis 1-0
Panionios - AEK 2-2
Xanthis - Thrasyvoulos 1-0
PAOK Thessaloniki- Aris Thessaloniki 1-0
The match Panathinaikos Athens - Ergotelis Crete will be held on Oct. 29, 2008.
The standings after four matches:
ERGOTELIS 7 (3 matches)
PANATHINAIKOS 6 (3 matches)
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