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Athens News Agency: News in English, 11-10-31

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Angry opposition reactions over call for referendum
  • [02] PM announces referendum over new lending deal; confidence vote
  • [03] Migratory birds return to endangered northern Greece lake

  • [01] Angry opposition reactions over call for referendum

    Main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis on Monday evening termed the Greek prime minister's proposal over a referendum on a new lending agreement to reduce the Greek debt as no less than a "constitutional and democratic deviation."

    Speaking during a prime time television newscast, the ND spokesman referred to an "indirect national dissension, one that jeopardises the country's greatest achievement, namely, accession to the European Union.

    Mihelakis charged that PM George Papandreou took the surprise initiative "because he was not able to make ND an accomplice, now he wants to make the Greek people an accomplice."

    Mihelakis repeated that the only solution is elections now, while he declined to state the reason why the ND president Antonis Samaras requested a meeting with President Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday.


    The Communist Party (KKE), in an announcement, underlined that a "huge lever of coercion against the people is being set up, whereby the government and the EU will use all means, threats and provocations to bring the working classes and the popular classes to their knees, to seize the 'yes' for the new agreement."

    "The working class and the popular classes must impose (snap) elections and welcome them with mass mobilisations throughout the country," the KKE announcement stated.


    The Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) party, in an announcement, cited an "adventurist policy" by the prime minister and an "adventurist referendum." It also called on Papandreou to "dare" and request a secret ballot by MPs during the vote of confidence process.

    Leftist SYRIZA

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group president Alexis Tsipras spoke of a "trick" by the government to "gain time in power", as he also repeated a call for snap elections, and with a proportional representational as well.

    FinMin: Referendum after deal finalised

    Government Vice President & Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, speaking to another private television station, essentially pointed to January for the holding of any referendum. Venizelos said such a referendum will be held after the finalisation of the loan agreement's details and completion of the exchange of the Greek bonds (PSI).

    Also according to the minister, the people will be called on to reply with a "yes" or a "no" to the new loan contract's ratifying law.

    Nevertheless, he rejected early elections, saying however, that if the government proposal is rejected in the referendum, "the country must be led to other developments", adding that: "elections will take place sooner or later."

    No EU reaction

    Meanwhile, in an AMNA dispatch from Brussels, EU spokeswoman Karolina Kottova, replying to a question over the Greek prime minister's sudden announcement, laconically replied "no comment on both issues (referendum and confidence vote). We are in contact and we are awaiting an official briefing from Greek authorities."

    [02] PM announces referendum over new lending deal; confidence vote

    AMNA / Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Monday announced an initiative to hold a referendum over the new lending agreement, while at the same time saying he will ask Parliament for a vote of confidence.

    Speaking to his ruling PASOK party's Parliamentary group on Monday afternoon, Papandreou said it was "the time for the citizens to reply responsibly. Do they want us to implement it or reject it? If the people do not want it, then it shall not be implemented. If yes, we shall proceed ... we never resigned from our responsibilities."

    Regarding what he referred to as a "road map" of his political initiatives, the prime minister added that he will call for a vote of confidence from Parliament, with the process to be activated on Wednesday.

    Moreover, in a bid to dampen growing calls for a snap election, Papandreou said his government holds a mandate for another two years, time it will use to implement its commitments.

    "We are not rejoicing, as the prophets of misery are claiming, but they shall not forbid us from being pleased, when conditions exist," he said, adding that the agreement at the European Union level means a reduction of debt and 4.5 billion euros less in interest payments every year.

    "The bigger debts bring bigger austerity," he said, before referring to a "systematic effort of disinformation by certain media and political parties ... All political forces should give support and the citizens as soon as they are informed correctly."

    He reiterated that with common shares the budget will contribute to the salvation of banks and, as he said, referring to the recapitalisation of banks, "if it is necessary, they should be nationalised, become state-owned." AMNA

    Briefing his party's deputies on decisions taken at the EU summit last week on the Greek debt, Papandreou said decisions were "historic", and stressed that nothing would have been decided if PASOK's Parliamentary Group had not taken the "historic decisions" voting for the omnibus bill two weeks ago. "It defended the national interest," he said.

    Debate will begin on Wednesday over Papandreou's bid for a vote of confidence and conclude on Friday at midnight via a roll call vote. AMNA

    [03] Migratory birds return to endangered northern Greece lake

    AMNA--Pelicans and cormorans have reportedly returned to endangered Lake Koronia, east of Thessaloniki in northern Greece, during the ongoing autumn migration this month, scientists announced this week.

    More than 700 pelican and other avian species reappeared after many years in Lake Koronia this past month.

    Lake Koronia faced an extremely serious ecological crisis over previous years, including p ollution from agricultural and stockbreeding run-off and and industrial wastewaters.

    The greatest depth of the lake fell from 8.5 metres in 1977 fell to 4.5 metres in 1987. In the summer of 2002 the spot where the lake was located was only a dried lake bed.

    Efforts to restore the lake are currently focusing on persuading surrounding farmers to shut down some 2,200 illegal wells and funneling waters into a rejuventated wetlands.

    Experts, meanwhile, have reported that the new irrigatiion network has resulted in an improvement in the qualitative characteristics of the lake's water.

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