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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-12-21

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Parliament passes '09 budget; PM's address

  • [01] Parliament passes '09 budget; PM's address

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Sunday evening launched a sharp counter-attack against the opposition in Parliament, especially against the main opposition leader, as the premier and ruling New Democracy party leader spearheaded the charge for the government's tabled 2009 draft budget amid a threatening global economic crisis and recent street violence in the country.

    Less than an hour after Karamanlis left the podium, a roll call vote produced 151 votes in favour, 146 against and one MP -- recently removed from ruling ND's parliamentary group -- declaring "present". Out of the 300 Parliament deputies, 298 participated in the roll call vote just after midnight in a nationally televised session.

    "In this very difficult juncture, certain individuals, and primarily the main opposition, merely ignore the real challenges faced by the country, sacrificing the collective national good in self-serving games ... Employing a wooden and condemnatory language, enormous inaccuracies, lies and empty promises they do not solve problems. The only thing they do is demonstrate their massive and dangerous irresponsibility," the prime minister charged from Parliament's podium.

    In referring to PASOK president George Papandreou by name, Karamanlis said the main opposition leader and former foreign minister maligned the country's image abroad with his published comments in international media last week, at the height of street violence following the shooting of teen in central Athens by a police officer.

    Moreover, he didn't mince his words in condemning "extremist groups who attack the economy, social peace and democracy."

    Karamanlis said these small and extreme groups, "‚¶taking advantage of the sorrow felt for the tragic loss of a child unleash violent and catastrophic attacks ‚¶ We will continue to speak with clear statements, not minced words. They are attacking society and democracy itself. They are indifferent to the toil of their fellow citizens, to the costs that burden taxpayers, to the desperation of wage-earners in affected businesses, to the damage done to the tourism sector. In violating every concept of university asylum, they have transformed our higher education institutes into firebombers' bases."

    Conversely, the premier said the struggles of working people and peaceful demonstrations had nothing to do with the firebombings and the "catastrophic mania of the extremists".

    In again turning his criticism to PASOK's Papandreou, the PM charged that "no one should act the part of a spreader of doom-saying slogans, not even the PASOK leader. Yet, he nevertheless reached the point, in an interview with an Italian magazine, of spreading the notion that the slogan in Athens is 'millions of dollars to the bankers and bullets for the pupils'."

    As per press speculation regarding "coalition government", which Papandreou also referred to, Karamanlis said these are the products of "scenario writers sitting next to you, right and left. We are strong and are doing our job."

    Caption: Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. ANA-MPA photo

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