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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-05-09

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Papandreou: government flouting institutions
  • [02] Party reactions to PM, Papandreou
  • [03] Greek Press Review

  • [01] Papandreou: government flouting institutions

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Saturday accused the government of "acting counter to the institutions and democracy" with its surprise decision to shut down Parliament early because of the European Parliament elections.

    Papandreou stressed in his address to PASOK's National Council that the decision harmed democracy and said that the government had "panicked in the face of the light of transparency".

    "The preoccupation with scandal is the result of government neglect and its irresponsible stance of covering things up," PASOK's leader added.

    Papandreou also forecast a rise in "selective scandal-mongering" by the government in coming weeks, which would target PASOK and its top members.

    He then invited Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to take the "next logical step" after shutting down Parliament and call general elections on June 7, to coincide with the Euro polls, and thus "put an end to the government's downward slide".

    Papandreou stressed that PASOK had a twin electoral goal: victory in the European Parliament elections and victory with an independent majority in the national elections. He termed the Euro polls a "referendum" that would send ruling New Democracy's government the message that Greeks condemned current policies and wanted another course.

    "The citizens want to be done with the disastrous five years of ND, once and for all, and will decide to end the policies that serve big interests and put profits above all else," PASOK's leader underlined.

    Greeks needed a government that could bring back hope and a sense of security, with a plan for dealing with the problems and the capacity to ably represent the country abroad. This would be the new PASOK government, he emphasised.

    "Resorting to national elections will become inevitable," Papandreou predicted, noting that this would be PASOK's time for victory but also a time of grave responsibility.

    "PASOK will take over a country in a very deep economic, political and social crisis, a crisis of values and international credibility," he pointed out and stressed his conviction that PASOK would succeed in changing Greece and restoring its strength and pride.

    The first goal in this effort would be to restore people's faith in politics and the state by guaranteeing a state of law, equality before the law, and a developmental policy combined with protection of the weaker strata, Papandreou said. He also pledged to fight corruption, wasteful spending and to promote "green" economic growth.

    Referring to the targets of European socialists in the June 7 elections, he pointed to the plans to revise the Stability Pact and thus end Europe's domination by neoliberal policies that undermined the social state, as well as the socialists' bid to gain a majority in the European Parliament so as to prevent the re-election of Jose Manuel Barroso as European Commission president.

    "On June 7, the polls will mark the beginning of the end for ND's government," he stressed, urging members of PASOK throughout the country to wage the battle on the front line.

    Caption: Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou addressing PASOK's National Council on Saturday. ANA-MPA - P. Saitas.

    [02] Party reactions to PM, Papandreou

    The smaller opposition parties were strongly critical of addresses made by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Saturday, as each launched his party's campaign for the European Parliament elections, as well as a decision to close Parliament early for the upcoming Euro polls.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) issued an announcement calling on voters to cast a "vote of disobedience" on June 7 and said the speeches by the leaders of the two main parties confirmed one thing:

    "The working class, young people, small and middle-sized farmers and self-employed must now turn their backs on New Democracy and PASOK. They are both choked in anti-popular policies and the stench of scandals. The surprise closure of Parliament was an autocratic measure to cover these up," the party said.

    According to an announcement by the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), a radical change of course for the country was now more necessary than ever and urged voters to weaken the two-party system by casting their vote for SYRIZA.

    "It is a provocation for the prime minister to express pride in his policies and be determined to continue them. Policies that breed general impasses and leads the greater majority of citizens to despair. The crisis that has struck the entire world amply proves the failure of the neoliberal model that the governments of the two-party system have served and still serve," it said.

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party spokesman Kyriakos Velopoulos said in comments on Karamanlis' speech that the prime minister was repeating the same things over and over but failing to convince the voters, who saw no hope in ND.

    [03] Greek Press Review

    The Saturday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The surprise resignation of PASOK MP and former minister Christos Verelis and the rapidly increasing budget deficit dominated the headlines on Saturday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Panic in PASOK! Sudden resignation by Verelis over MAN scandal".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Hurricane 'MAN' hits PASOK. Mud-slinging against government boomerangs".

    AVGHI: "They closed Parliament when no one was looking, wrote off the scandals!".

    AVRIANI: "Resignation by top PASOK executive and a close aide of [PASOK leader] George Papandreou, after brave initiative by Christos Verelis".

    CHORA: "Verelis bomb unsettles PASOK. New factors on the political scene from the MAN kickbacks".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Only dead will we leave the monastery! Exclusive interview with Abbot Methodios of Esfigmenos Monastery".

    ELEFTHEROS: "A MAN electric shock for PASOK from Verelis. His communications-smart resignation a message to New Democracy over [the non-resignation of accused former Aegean minister Aristotelis] Pavlidis".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Sex education in primary schools. Education ministry has prepared school text books".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Resignation after the ... MAN to man".

    ESTIA: "Surprise resignation by Verelis. He cites reasons of sensitivity".

    ETHNOS: "Verelis resignation a 'slap'. A lesson in sensitivity counter to the 'political pachydermism' in [ND]".

    KATHIMERINI: "Surprise resignation by Christos Verelis after revelations about illegal payments".

    LOGOS: "Scandal write offs. Surprise end to Parliament session".

    STO KARFI at the weekend: "Underhand strike against George [PASOK leader] by [Prime Minister Costas] Karamanlis and 'pimps'".

    TA NEA: "Verelis bomb blasts PASOK. Surprise resignation over MAN case".

    NIKI: "A lesson from PASOK to Karamanlis. Papandreou immovable on cleansing at all costs".

    PRESS TIME: "The nightmare knocks on our door. What is happening with swine flu".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Let the people turn their back on the rotten bourgeois political system".

    TO VIMA: "New interest rate war between banks after 1 percent reduction".

    VRADYNI: "Shock resignation by Verelis. Outside Parliament, because of the investigation of the MAN case by justice".


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