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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-09-29

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM and interior minister confer on local elections law
  • [02] ND secretary comments on Polyzos case, stresses ruling party's 'good overall image'

  • [01] PM and interior minister confer on local elections law

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis met Thursday with interior, public administration and decentralisation minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

    Pavlopoulos told reporters after the meeting that two decisions had been taken, one concerning the electoral law vis-a-vis the election of prefects and mayors from the first Sunday of elections, and the second concerning the working hours of civil services.

    Elaborating, Pavlopoulos said the government would propose the election of a mayor or prefect from the first Sunday -- first round -- of elections provided a candidate received 42 percent of the vote.

    Currently, if one candidate does not receive an absolute majority of 50 percent plus one vote in the first round, a run-off election is held the following Sunday between the top two candidates.

    The minister said that all the other providions and details of the new law would be presented in the draft being advanced by the government, and would be put to public dialogue.

    Regarding the working hours of the public sector, Pavlopoulos said the government proposed to ADEDY -- the Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council -- uniform operating hours -- from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the summer months and from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the winter months -- so as to accommodate the citizens and ensure smooth operation in cooperation with the related services of the rest of the EU member states and Brussels (the EU headquarters).

    [02] ND secretary comments on Polyzos case, stresses ruling party's 'good overall image'

    Ruling New Democracy's Central Committee Secretary Vangelis Meimarakis on Thursday underlined that the government was gradually fulfilling the pledges contained in the programme voted for by the electorate and that its overall image could not be tarnished by recent "isolated incidents" like those that led to the expulsion of ND MP Evangelos Polyzos.

    Emerging from a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, he also announced that progress was being made on changes to the system for local government elections.

    Pressed further concerning a spate of generalised and non-specific allegations hinting at corruption within government circles, which culminated in the removal of Polyzos for what was essentially an unfortunately-worded reaction, Meimarakis stressed the premier had made it clear he would show zero tolerance for phenomena of corruption.

    At the same time, the party secretary descibed the expulsion of Polyzos as a "stern" response that had "raised the bar" and created high expectations, while noting that it was impossible to remove an official every time they made a badly-phrased statement.

    "Neither [main opposition] PASOK nor the media will dictate when and if someone should be removed," he added.

    Polyzos was expelled from ND's parliamentary group after saying that there were "bad and good people in every party" when asked to comment on a purported statement by ND farmer trade unionist Thanassis Kokkinoulis that certain aides of ministers were guilty of accepting bribes. Kokkinoulis later denied making the statements attributed to him, while Polyzos publicly said that his own statement was general and did not refer to any specific instance.

    Asked to clarify Meimarakis' statements later in the day, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said they had been general and that "high expectations were created in people by the need for a change in attitude and behaviour".

    On Meimarakis' statement concerning the media, Roussopoulos stressed that the government respected the media, journalists and their function.

    "Every government in a democracy knows that it will be subjected to criticism. This is not the place to analyse what is acceptable criticism this should be, criticism is welcome as long as it is made in good faith," he said.

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