|Sunday, 18 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-09-27
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 PM: No room for a single lost voteThe October 4 general election is "so critical that there is no room for a protest vote...there is no room for a single lost vote," prime minister and ruling New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis said in an interview appearing in the Sunday edition of the RealNews newspaper, while, addressing a campaign rally in the western port city of Patras on Saturday evening, he stressed that the hope provided by ND was credible and real because it was based on tough but necessary measures.
In the newspaper interview, Karamanlis called on the ND voters to stand by the party in next Sunday's elections, putting aside their "complaints and bitterness".
He expressed confidence that the recent opinion polls (indicating main opposition PASOK with a comfortable lead over ND) will be belied by the election result.
To a question on whether he had been 'carried away' by recommendations for calling early general elections, Karamanlis said the relevant rumors were "fairy tales", stressing that "the big decisions are taken by the leader...the more so when important nation interests are at stake".
To another question, the premier replied that "ND is a democratic party", and that he does not intend to step down from the party leadership in the event his party loses the upcoming elections.
"I have no intention of leaving -- I am a fighter, and a bellwether -- provided I feel useful and they want me," he said.
Regarding his backing of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias for a second term in office, Karamanlis said his support is steadfast, and criticised main opposition PASOK on its stance.
"The choice I made (in proposing Papoulias, a former PASOK foreign minister, for the presidency), apart from having proved to be a correct one, also had a very significant symbolic value for a different development in our political ethos. Unfortunately, PASOK did not follow suit," the premier continued.
Asked to comment on speculation that he, himself, would be a candidate for President of the Republic, Karamanlis replied: "Karamanlis is a born fighter, and this means that he takes a stance and a battle position on all issues. I am fighting for my ideas to prevail in the country. This means that, when you are on the front line of the battle, you have no other options."
Speaking in Patras on Saturday evening, the premier stressed that the hope offered by ND was credible, and real, because it was founded on tough but necessary measures that will place strong foundations in the economy.
"We are not seeking to be pleasant, for a few months, with disastrous consequences for the country and the citizens. The hope we offer is being earned over a hard and steady course. There is no easy path. The easy path does not build hope, but destroys it," Karamanlis said.
"We have presented a responsible plan, with straightforward measures, and an explicit timetable, because we choose the path of responsibility," he added.
He criticised PASOK of offering "empty hope" built "on the sands of unrealistic and irresponsible benefits, the cost of which exceeds 10 billion euros", in the absence of a plan for facing the crisis. "Those benefits will skyrocket the deficit and the state debt. They will be disastrous for the economy. They will take us back years."
Karamanlis said that although PASOK in the past few days has now acknowledged the severity of the crisis, it nevertheless persists with its unrealistic promises. Although it has conceded the need to contain the deficits and debts, it nevertheless proposes measures that will lead to the opposite result, the premier charged, adding that, in a conjuncture of huge difficulties, PASOK has not proposed a single unpleasant measure and "persistently keeps its cards closed".
He further accused PASOK leader George Papandreou of hurting the country's international credibility by disputing agreements signed and strategic alliances formed, thus creating a climate of uncertainty.
Turning to the country's future, the prime minister stressed that "tomorrow's growth, progress and prosperity depend on what we do today".
"These hopes depend on our economy's ability to exit the crisis quickly and with the fewest possible repercussions. Very specific policies are necessary for that. Tough decisions are needed. If we don't implement them, we will not be able to move forward. If we do not dare, today, the global crisis will lead to overindebtedness, to very harsh measures, and to misadventures. It is our national obligation to avert that prospect," Karamanlis stressed.
ND, he continued, has proposed a specific plan that leads, with steady steps, to the prospect of a dynamic recovery, stressing that "the necessary measures need to be taken now in order to attain the Greece we want, a Greece with optimism, strong development, increasing number of jobs and a real social state".
"We can attain this, and we will do so," Karamanlis concluded.
 Papandreou: Strong vote for self-sufficient gov'tMain opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou called for a strong vote that will give his party a self-sufficient majority in next Sunday's general election, pledging that he will personally guarantee that such a self-sufficiency will not result in arrogance but rather will comprise the firm foundation on which a new unity of all the Greeks will be built, in an interview appearing in the Sunday edition of To Vima newspaper.
Papandreou stressed that a wave of reform is necessary that will sweep away corruption and build a political system of transparency and confidence, eliminate bureaucracy, and reinstate the social state.
Addressing an event on breast cancer prevention on Sunday morning organised by the Panhellenic Association of Women with Breast Cancer 'Alma Zois' (Leap of Life) and the American organisation Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Papandreou pledged that PASOK, if elected to the government, will guarantee a state that is sensitive to the human being and to the plague of breast cancer.
Speaking at the start of the Athens race of the Susan Komen Race for the Cure series, which are being held in five cities across Europe, Papandreou said that, although a man and therefore unable to put himself in the women sufferers' position, "your struggle is my struggle, it is the struggle of all of us for a society of dignity, sensitivity and humanity."
"It is important that we guarantee the right to life," he said, adding that this meant "first of all the right to prevention, the right to immediate and early diagnosis, without bureaucracy and labyrinthine procedures, the right to early treatment and cure of the problem".
All that, however, "requires a state that invests in the proper equipment, proper hospitals and capable healthcare and nursing staff", Papandreou said, adding that this could be achieved through a proper streamlining of the economy and the National Health System (ESY).
 Athens Newspaper HeadlinesAthens' Sunday newspapers at a glance
The final stretch to next Sunday's general elections, last week's arrest of terrorist suspects and the fiscal deficit were the main front-page items in Sunday's newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Papandreou's (main opposition PASOK leader) seven lies - They will further indebt us with 70 billion euros from their first day in office".
APOGEVMATINI: "The disgruntled voters returning to (ruling New Democracy party) ND".
AVGHI: "Strong SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left parliamentary alliance) for the 'winter' that's coming".
AVRIANI: "The 'pyramid' of the insurance companies is collapsing".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "In the 'straits' of Brussels - Papandreou's battle plan, with three defence lines, for the negotiations with the EU on the economy".
ETHNOS: "Blue (ND) torpedoes aimed against a PASOK self-sufficient majority - The last moves of the two duelers (ruling ND and main opposition PASOK) in the campaign arena".
KATHIMERINI: "The quandaries in the election and the nightmare of the 'morning after'."
LOGOS: "Revelations on the 'new style' terrorist organisations - The four suspects arrested to testify on Tuesday, six more wanted".
NIKI: "The 'heavy artillery' on the front lines - George's PASOK, united, heading for self-sufficient government".
REALNEWS: "Karamanlis message - The prime minister opens up his cars on the elections and the 'morning after'."
RIZOSPASTIS: "Decisively into the battle, with the KKE ballots".
TO VIMA: "Five burning files and three defeat scenarios - PASOK and ND preparing for the 'morning after'."
VRADYNI: "Rallying of ND voters at its zenith - The messages coming in to the party headquarters from all parts of Greece".
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