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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-03-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Inner Cabinet approves justice reform bills
  • [02] Vakufs discussed in Ankara
  • [03] Poll: ND ups lead over PASOK

  • [01] Inner Cabinet approves justice reform bills

    The Inner Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, on Wednesday unanimously approved of four justice ministry draft laws.

    After the meeting, Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis noted that the first draft law envisions speedier procedures for administrative courts, whereas the second piece of legislation aims to better combat corruption, including at the central government and local government level.

    The third draft law refers to confidentiality in the telecoms sector, with provisions made for shielding private life and personal data, while also foreseeing cooperation with other European countries against organised crime.

    Answering press questions about ongoing strikes and if he supports court-ordered requisitioning of strikers, Hatzigakis said: "I am with the law and society's rights", while adding that he believes the government listens closely to public opinion and the public's interest.

    [02] Vakufs discussed in Ankara

    A foreign ministry spokesman on Wednesday clarified that last Saturday's talks in Ankara between Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and her Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan, among others, briefly touched on recent legislation in Turkey concerning charitable foundations -- the so-called vakufs-- as well as religious minorities' foundations and related properties.

    Spokesman George Koumoutsakos made the statement when queried by reporters at his regular press briefing over Babacan's reference, after the talks on Saturday, that the discussion had touched on the issue of "minorities".

    The spokesman said the talks are part of Athens' volition to exhaust all opportunities for discussion with Ankara so that bilateral relations continue to improve.

    Koumoutsakos reminded that there is no structured dialogue, bilateral committees or any other mechanism to discuss "minority issues", while he reiterated that commitments assumed by the Turkish government regarding human and minority rights -- as part of its European Union course -- are not linked to Greece's policy vis-à-vis the Muslim minority in Thrace.

    The issue of charitable foundations and minority rights in Turkey has heightened sensitivity for Greece due to the fact that the once robust ethnic Greek community of Istanbul and on the northeastern Aegean islands of Imvros and Tenedos has been transformed into a tiny ethnic Greek and Eastern Orthodox presence today.

    Caption: ANA-MPA/EPA file photo of Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis (L) and Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan in Ankara.

    [03] Poll: ND ups lead over PASOK

    Ruling New Democracy (ND) party has further increased its lead over main opposition PASOK party to 6.5 percentage points, despite losses it has suffered in terms of voter support, according to an opinion poll conducted on behalf of Athens daily "Kathimerini", the results of which appeared in the newspaper on Wednesday.

    As regards voter intent -- if general elections were held tomorrow -- 37.5 percent of respondents said they would vote for ND and 31 percent for PASOK, followed by Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), 17 percent; the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with 7.5 percent, and the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) with 4 percent.

    Two-party dominance is also apparently showing signs of decline, as SYRIZA's support continues to rise.

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