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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-01-23

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Premier outlines ND strategy for local gov't elections, constitutional revision proposals
  • [02] Papandreou cites PASOK prospects for new year

  • [01] Premier outlines ND strategy for local gov't elections, constitutional revision proposals

    Karamanlis outlines ND strategy for local gov't elections, constitutional revision proposals

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday unveiled ruling New Democracy (ND) party's strategy ahead of this autumn's municipal and prefectural elections, speaking in Athens to members of ND's political council.

    In pointing to a substantive difference between the current ND government and the previous PASOK central governments, as he said, Karamanlis noted that funds owed to local government entities from past years are finally beginning to be allocated, while debts accumulated by municipal governments are also being resolved.

    Additionally, the premier called the election of mayors and prefects in the first round of voting with 42 percent of the vote -- as opposed to a previous 50-percent ceiling in the first round -- a radical change.

    He again said his party will aim for the "modern social centre", a political strategy he said means an opening by ND to all of society.

    Furthermore, Karamanlis, fresh from his official state visit to China, reiterated that although the local government elections are definitely a political affair, they should not be plagued by petty partisan politics.

    Along those lines, he announced that ND will not exclusively back only New Democracy cadres, a position he said is wholly in line with the government's overall policies.

    Changing subjects, Karamanlis also briefed the council's members on his recent trip to China, calling his contacts productive and adding that preparations were meticulous. The prime minister added that Beijing is ready to for closer cooperation with Athens.

    Constitution revision

    Regarding constitutional revision, an idea that was transformed into a concrete set of proposals by the Greek premier last week during a high-profile appearance, Karamanlis said the goal is to meet a commitment to citizens for a "wide-ranging reform package".

    "Citizens are asking us to change things, and that's what we will do," he stressed.

    "Our obligation is for a wide-ranging and bold revision," he said, before again outlining the course that such a revision will take.

    Karamanlis repeated his government's intention of rewriting the constitution to finally allow the operation and recognition of private, non-profit universities in the country.

    Among others, he reiterated his proposals for greater safeguards to ensure an independent judiciary; creation of a constitutional court; greater scrutiny of political parties' finances and more detailed "statements of means" for MPs.

    Other points he again cited included the partial lifting of a ban on deputies exercising a profession while in Parliament as well as modifications to the immunity clause for serving MPs.

    Furthermore, the Greek PM stood by his ground-breaking proposal of instituting permanent work contracts for certain new hirings in the wider public sector in place of the current tenure status granted to all civil servants regardless.

    Other references cited the elimination of retroactive court-ordered compensations that burden the state budget, as well as the urgent modification of the country's deficient and more-or-less outdated land use provisions.

    The prime minister also referred to Church-state relations, stressing that both important institutions have distinct roles, whereas solutions to particular issues can come via the legislative route.

    [02] Papandreou cites PASOK prospects for new year

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Monday presided over a traditional New Year's cake-cutting ceremony at his party's central Athens headquarters, where he noted, among others, that the ongoing year "will be a year that we will be constantly next to the citizens, their problems; and we will not allow the government to distract from the problems that the Greek people face".

    Additionally, he said the main opposition party recorded significant steps over the past year.


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