|Wednesday, 20 November 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-04-08
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 FENCESITTERS COULD SWAY ELECTIONS OUTCOMEThessaloniki, 8 April 2000 (14:22 UTC+2)
Greece's 8.9 million registered voters go to the polls tomorrow to elect a new government, with the ruling Socialists (PASOK) running neck and neck with conservative New Democracy as both battle to sway the high number of undecided voters.
Prime Minister and PASOK party leader Costas Simitis is confident of a socialist victory, while Costas Karamanlis, New Democracy leader is also certain that his party will emerge the winner.
With political parties having wrapped up their campaigns, these national elections appear to have no clear favorite.
Elections in Greece are held officially every four years, with Universal suffrage at age 18 and compulsory. Polls are to open at sunrise and close at sunset.
There will be 18,959 polling stations (434 more than for last year's European Parliamentary election). There will be 600 voters on average per polling station.
Of the total number of registered voters, 455,000 will be casting their votes for their first time. Of the new voters, men outnumber women by 666, although women voters make up 51.2 percent of the total electorate.
One-third of the voters (3,017,821) are aged between 25 and 45, another 8.8 percent are under 25, while 30.3 percent are 46-65, and 27 percent are over 65.
Reinforced proportional representation gives the first party bonus seats, ensuring that it gets a solid parliamentary majority even if it wins by a slim margin. Parties must receive at least three percent of the vote to get into parliament.
Parties slates in each district include candidates equal to the number of seats to be filled in the constituency. Voters choose candidates by placing a cross next to their names in black or blue ink. Ballots marked with more crosses than allowed are not invalid but are considered as a vote for the party.
 FIVE MAJOR PARTIES VIE FOR LEADERSHIP IN GREECEThessaloniki, 8 April 2000 (14:21 UTC+2)
Five major parties are vying for the country's leadership in tomorrow's general elections, namely ruling PASOK party, main opposition New Democracy, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). The Coalition of the Left and Progress and the Democratic and Social Movement.
Led by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, PASOK has ruled the country almost exclusively since 1981, losing power only once, from 1990 to 1993. PASOK has 161 seats in the outgoing Parliament.
Conservative New Democracy has been out of power since 1993 when the then-government collapsed after losing its parliamentary majority. Its president Costas Karamanlis is 43 years old and the nephew of Constantine Karamanlis, who served as prime minister for 13 years as well as president for another 10 years. New Democracy has 103 seats in the old Parliament.
The Communist Party is Greece's oldest party and is among the last orthodox Marxist-Leninist groupings in Europe. Led by Aleka Papariga, 55, and has 11 seats in Parliament.
The Coalition of the Left and Progress consists of former euro-communists and environmentalists is led by Nikos Kostantopoulos, 53, and has 10 seats in Parliament.
Led by former Finance Minister Dimitris Tsovolas, the Democratic and Social Movement has eight seats in the outgoing Parliament.
 AT THE STADIUM ALONE, 86-YEAR-OLD FORGOTTEN BEHINDAthens, 8 April 2000 (14:11 UTC+2)
An elderly man who traveled from his village with his family to attend his party's campaign rally in Athens on Thursday was forgotten behind by his relatives and spent the night shivering in the empty Olympic Stadium.
Eighty-six-year-old George Petreas, from southern Greece's village of Cambos (176 miles away from Athens) had traveled with his son to the Athens Olympic Stadium on one of a dozen buses chartered by his party, main opposition New Democracy, a practice frequently used by Greek political parties wishing to transport out-of-town supporters to party events.
Once police located Mr. Petreas' son, who by that time had returned to the village, he explained that he had assumed his dad had boarded a different bus.
 POPULAR COMPOSER AKIS PANOU SUCCUMBS TO CANCERThessaloniki, 8 April 2000 (13:56 UTC+2)
Popular Greek music composer Akis Panou succumbed to a lengthy battle with cancer yesterday, when he died at an Athens hospital.
The 67-year-old composer, a landmark figure in Greek urban music, had been convicted of killing a man who had eloped with the composer's pregnant daughter Eleftheria, a tragic event that seemed to have added to his reclusive-yet-beloved persona.
After turning himself in at a local police station, the court sentenced Mr. Panou to life imprisonment for fatally shooting the 29-year-old boyfriend of his 20-year-old only daughter, following an argument.
Mr. Panou's compositions rank among the best-known and most-often sung tunes that have spanned many generations.
Survived by his wife and four children, Mr. Panou will be buried in Athens on Tuesday.
 ALL ABOUT GREECE AT FOREIGN MINISTRYS WEB SITEThessaloniki, 8 April 2000 (13:38 UTC+2)
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched a web site, entitled "Greece Now" and found at the address http//www.greece.gr., which covers a broad range of topics concerning the country's internal and external affairs, economy, culture, environment, education and Greek expatriate communities.
Foreign Minister George Papandreou said the launching of the site was a small but important step "in the direction of modernizing the country's foreign policy tools".
 OIL PRICES EDGE MARCH INFLATION UPWARDSThessaloniki, 8 April 2000 (13:31 UTC+2)
Greece's inflation rose to 3.1 percent in March, slightly increasing from February's 2.9 percent, according to the National Statistical Service.
The increase is attributed to soaring global crude oil prices, although it is expected to decline after OPEC's recent decision to set higher output limits, thus resulting in lower oil prices.
 GREEKS FLOCK TO THEIR HOMETOWNS IN ORDER TO VOTEThessaloniki, 8 April 2000 (13:26 UTC+2)
The highway patrol is taking emergency measures this weekend in an effort to lessen traffic jams, as almost a million voters are expected to travel to their hometowns, where they are registered, in order to vote in tomorrow's general elections.
One of the measures is the allocation of an extra lane for traffic heading out of the capital on the Athens-Corinth highway, while the said measure will be implemented in reverse for traffic returning to the capital tomorrow afternoon.
Police will assist traffic at various main junctions of the highways while all road tolls have been lifted until Monday night.
 POLISH AMBASSADOR TO ANKARA COMMITS SUICIDEAnkara, 8 April 2000 (13:20 UTC+2)
Poland's Ambassador to Ankara, Miroslav Palaz, committed suicide this morning, when he leaped to his death out the window of a hospital where he was being treated for depression.
According to the Turkish news Agency Anadolu, Mr. Palaz jumped out of the Bayidir Medical Center's ninth-floor window.
According to reports, the ambassador was hospitalized three days ago, after learning that his wife is suffering from cancer.