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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 02-02-25
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 INTENSE POLITICAL CONFRONTATIONSAthens, 25 February 2002 (12:27 UTC+2)
The tension in political confrontations between the Government and the main Opposition party rose during the weekend, after aggressive speeches by Mr. Simitis and Mr. Karamnlis.
In a speech on Saturday, while in Pella, Prime Minister Kostas Simitis accused the Opposition of methodically campaigning to stain the government, politics and individuals involved in politics. He made mention of anachronistic interest alliances, that are trying to distort Greece's image: PASOK says no to such attempts, stressed Mr. Simitis, and called all citizens, of all political affiliations, to a joint front against this orchestrated undermining, aiming at political derailment.
He also ended all scenarios of early elections, characteristically saying that: Elections will take place at the end of the four year tenure, they should get it into their heads. He explained that there is no need to expedite the elections nor are there any worries, and he added that the government's work is yielding positive results.
Referring to agricultural policy issues, he reassured the public that the government has secured, to the greatest degree, communal support for agricultural production and farmers' income, at least until 2006.
Kostas Karamnalis' reply from Preveza was also intense. The President of New Democracy launched an attack on the person of the Prime Minister. Mr. Karamanlis made mention of a sad and dangerous phenomenon for Greece and Democracy, and accused the Prime Minister of bringing about scenarios of political derailment, because everyone knows that PASOK will lose the elections. He pointed out the need of a brave intervention to interrupt the course of decadence that the country has entered, and invited voters of other parties. The President of ND characterized the Prime Minister as panicking and dangerous, and his appearance in Edessa as petty and dangerous. Furthermore, he referred to a parastate of corruption and lack of restraint, that has lost all control. Referring to developmental politics, the President of New Democracy underlined the need for a steady tax system and national strategic regional development.
 G. PAPANDREOU MOST POPULAR POLITICIANAthens, 25 February 2002 (12:26 UTC+2)
Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou is still the most popular Greek politician, according to a panhellenic survey of Metron Analysis, for the Imerisia newspaper, while at a breath's distance are Dora Bakoyanni and Giorgos Souflias.
Giorgos Papandreou came first with 70% in the preference of all voters, against 66.8% for Mrs. Bakoyanni and 66.7% for Mr. Souflias. Fourth in the preferences of the public is Evaggelos Venizelos with 59.5%, Akis Tsohatzopoulos with 57.8%, Thodoris Roussopoulos with 57.6%, and Theodoros Pagalos with 56.4%.
Giorgos Papandreou is also ahead in the preference of PASOK voters, with 86.6%, while following, are Akis Tsohatzopoulos (78,3%), Evagg, Venizelos (77.6%), K. Skandalidis (73.7%) and Vaso Papandreou (73.6%).
Dora Bakoyanni, also, is in the lead among ND voters, with a record percentage (88.9%), while following are G. Souflias (80.7%), Th. Roussopoulos (76.4%) and K. Mitsotakis (67.9%).
 BUSINESSMEN FROM INDIA TO VISIT THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 25 February 2002 (18:28 UTC+2)
Thessaloniki's Commerce and Industry Chamber in cooperation with the commerce department of the embassy of India in Athens will welcome a business delegation made up of 14 businessmen from India on March 1.
The goal of the delegation is to meet with businessmen in northern Greece and examine the prospects for their cooperation. The members of the delegation are active in the sectors of furniture manufacturing, textiles, carpets, decoration and leather goods.
 GREEK RESERVATIONS ON THE RESULTS OF THE CLERIDES-DENKTASH TALKSAthens, 25 February 2002 (18:11 UTC+2)
The latest developments in Cyprus in the light of the direct talks between Cypriot President Glafkos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash will be examined in Athens on Wednesday in the meeting of Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou with US State Department envoy to Cyprus Thomas Weston.
The Greek Foreign Ministry appears cautious on the outcome of the direct talks between Clerides and Denktash, stressing that developments will depend on the stance of the Turkish Cypriot side and Denktash himself.
Commenting on the outcome of the first round of the direct talks, Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis stated that they were of exploratory nature and expressed the hope that the next phase will give meaningful results. He also expressed the view that both the International Community and the UN will play a decisive role.
He added that the talks cannot continue indefinitely, pointing out that important events are expected to take place in 2002 and in this very important period of time the Turkish side should make the necessary moves to have meaningful results.
On the EU funds for the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot side, Mr. Beglitis stressed that the EU aid will be offered after a solution is reached on the Cyprus problem.
The EU message is that the Turkish leadership must contribute in a meaningful way to the solution of the Cyprus problem based on the Copenhagen criteria and the European standards, stated Mr. Beglitis.
 CLARIFICATIONS ON MR. SIMITIS' REFERENCE ON CYPRUSAthens, 25 February 2002 (17:50 UTC+2)
Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis stated during his visit to the prefecture of Imathia, northwestern Greece, that reactions are expected on behalf of Turkey during Cyprus' EU accession course. The clarification was made by Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas when he was asked to comment on what the Prime Minister meant when he said that Turkey will react to Cyprus' EU accession course.
The government spokesman reminded that already the first reaction came with the letter of Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem the content of which caused the reaction of the EU members and added that similar reactions cannot be ruled out in the future.
 GREEK VOTERS SAY "YES" TO COOPERATION GOVERNMENTSAthens, 25 February 2002 (17:39 UTC+2)
The overwhelming majority of the Greek voters say yes to the prospect of cooperation governments, while they also back the change of the electoral law toward a model of a more proportional representation.
According to the polling company Metron Analysis, which conducted an opinion poll on behalf of the Athens newspaper Imerisia, 56.1% are in favor of cooperation governments, while 36.4% support the one-party governments.
The majority of the Greek voters want the electoral law to change and take up a proportional representation form. In favor are 40.2% of the voters and 34.1% want the law to remain as it is.
 GAINS IN THE ASEAthens, 25 February 2002 (17:36 UTC+2)
Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.23% at 2.356,97 points, while the volume of transactions was at 72 million Euro or 24.6 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today, 114 recorded gains and 192 had losses, while the value of 52 stocks remained unchanged.
 PAPANDREOU IS THE MOST POPULAR POLITICIANAthens, 25 February 2002 (17:22 UTC+2)
Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou is the most popular politician in Greece, according to an opinion poll conducted by the polling company Metron Analysis on behalf of the Athens newspaper Imerisia. Mr. Papandreou is followed closely by Dora Bakoyiannis and Giorgos Souflias of the right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy.
Giorgos Papandreou tops the list with 70% followed by Ms. Bakoyiannis and Mr. Souflias, with 66.8% and 66.7% respectively. The fourth position is occupied by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos 59.5%, followed by Minister of Development Akis Tsochatzopoulos 57.8%, ND spokesman Thodoris Rousopoulos 57.6% and PASOK parliament deputy and former government minister Theodoros Pangalos 56.4%.
 PAPANDREOU SENT A CONGRATULATORY TELEGRAM TO PANTELI MAJKOAthens, 25 February 2002 (17:18 UTC+2)
Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou sent a congratulatory telegram to Albania's new Prime Minister Panteli Majko and the members of his government.
Mr. Papandreou expressed the wish the new government to overcome the political problems and proceed with the economic and political reconstruction of the country.
Greece remains firm in the promotion of the Greek-Albanian relations and regards Albania as an important partner and wishes to contribute to its European prospect and its accession into the Euro-Atlantic institutions, stressed Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis.
 GREEK AND SPANISH DEFENSE MINISTERS MEETINGAthens, 25 February 2002 (17:14 UTC+2)
The issue of the European policy of defense and security dominated in the meeting of Greek Minister of Defense Yiannos Papantoniou with his Spanish counterpart Federico Trillo, who is presiding over in the EU Council of Ministers. Mr. Papantoniou backed the proposal of the Spanish EU Presidency to turn the informal council of defense ministers into an essential decision-making body.
The two ministers agreed on the speeding-up of the procedures for the Euro-army to be operationally ready by 2003 and supplement the international forces deployed in Bosnia-Herzegovina and FYROM.
On the issue of the EU-NATO relations, Mr. Papantoniou reiterated Greece's firm position namely, that the EU should not be under NATO when the military operations do not depend on NATO installations. Also, Greece does not want the problems in the relations with Turkey to be brought in the European force given the fact that Turkey is not an EU member.
From his side, Mr. Trillo categorically denied a news report according to which, he allegedly launched an attack on Greece for its position on the issue of the EU relations with Turkey regarding the Euro-army issue.
The two ministers also agreed that more money should be spent on the defense industry research and development.
 VOTERS SAY YES TO COALITION GOVERNMENTSAthens, 25 February 2002 (13:17 UTC+2)
The absolute majority of Greek voters, says yes to coalition governments, and yes to the change of electoral law in a more proportional direction. According to a panhellenic survey of Metron Analysis for the Imerisia newspaper, 56.1% of those asked are in favor of coalition governments, while 36.4% are for single party governments, resulting in the rapid collapse of one of the values in the political changeover era.
It should be noted that 57.7% of PASOK voters are in favor of coalitions (the absolute majority of voters of the governing party, and slightly more than the average), as well as almost half of the voters of New Democracy (48.8%). This event is an even greater surprise, since the voters of the main opposition party were the greatest supporters of single party governments, and also because under the present circumstances, ND is the party that will have the greatest difficulty in finding governmental partners. 93% of Coalition of the Left voters are in favor of coalition governments, an event that proves that the Laliotis proposal is likely to find fertile soil, as well as 73.2% of KKE (Greek Communist Party) voters. Finally, 58.8% of voters not voting for parties participating in the Parliament (ND, PASOK, the Coalition, KKE), are also in favor of Coalition governments.
The majority of voters, however, are in favor of a more proportional electoral law, which would be a lever in the appointment of single party governments or coalition governments. According to Metron Analysis, 40.2% of voters asked for electoral law to change towards a more proportional system, 34.1% asked for it to remain the same, and only 8% asked for a change that would strengthen the first party. PASOK voters seem to be divided on the issue of electoral law, with the supporters of change to a more proportional system only just in the lead (39.5%) and those supporting that no changes need be made slightly behind (38.1%).
ND voters are a surprise at this point, with one third (31.4%) in favor of a more proportional system, with 38.1% still supporting the Mitsotakis-Kouvelas system. Voters in favor of changing the electoral law to a more proportional system, are for KKE 20.4%, the Coalition of the Left 88.6%, and voters of other parties at 45.9%, in contrast to 23.9% that want it to stay the same. Finally, supporters of a change in electoral law that would support the first party are 5.8% of PASOK voters, 12% of ND voters, 1.5% of KKE voters, 0% of Coalition others, and 12.8% of all voters of other parties.
 EUROPEAN COMMISSION DELEGATION IN CYPRUSNicosia, 25 February 2002 (12:27 UTC+2)
A delegation of the European Commission's services, under the Head of the Negotiation Team of the EU to Cyprus Leopold Maurer, will begin a series of meetings in Cyprus tomorrow, aiming at reviewing the work taking place for the harmonizing of Cyprus with the European standards.
Participants in the meetings on the side of Cyprus include the Head of the negotiations committee for Cyprus' accession Giorgos Vasiliou, members of his staff, and relevant representatives of Ministries and Services.