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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-01-20

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou addresses PASOK meeting
  • [02] Youth Parliament sessions end
  • [03] Athens Newspaper Headlines

  • [01] Papandreou addresses PASOK meeting

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou appeared optimistic that the course to the party's next congress had started off on the right footing, stressing that the event will be the "springboard for a new course for Greece and a new course for PASOK to win the next general elections", speaking at the closing session of the PASOK congress' central organising committee meeting on Saturday evening.

    Papandreou also launched a scathing attack against the ruling New Democracy (ND) government and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, while he further warned party members that the PASOK congress should not be seen as a "battle of officials".

    The PASOK leader said the country was going through a crisis (a reference to the Zachopoulos affair) undermining the institutions, while he referred to an abuse of authority, deification of wealth, prevalence of the law of the powerful, and the buy-off of consciences.

    He accused the government of leading the country on a decline, with its conservative policy, which would not stop unless the conservative policy was overturned, and accused the prime minister personally of "serving the powerful

    He further accused the premier of not fighting corruption.

    Papandreou also charged that "no one today knows who's governing the country", questioning whether the country was being run by the elected prime minister, "the opaque interests that back him, or those with whom he was engaged in 'mutual coercion'."

    One thing was certain, he added, "it is not the Greek people who are governing". Turning to the stance of the other left-wing parties, Papandreou accused them of "levelling rationales" for vote-grabbing reasons.

    In his own address, high-ranking MP Costas Skandalidis referred to a crisis of governance and a crisis in the representation of the political system, and stressed the need for deep-rooted changes to the political system and transition to a qualitative system of governance.


    Former minister Evangelos Venizelos, in turn, said he was in agreement with the basic policy positions set out by Papandreou for a change of the political system, but he criticised other aspects of PASOK's policy as well as internal party issues, pointing to the issue of internal party democracy, as he said.

    Venizelos said he agreed with Papandreou that the Nov. 11 party leadership election -- where he and Skandalidis were also candidates for the PASOK helm -- was "history", as was the Sept. 16 general election. "But those dates determine, to a great degree, the present and future of the party and the country", he said, adding that commitments undertaken ahead of the Nov. 11 party election "are still valid".

    Venizelos said he respected the outcome of the internal party election, but stressed that he was giving Papandreou "space" to unfold his choices and implement his policy, without setting out is own participation in the implementation of the policy selected by the party. He added that the commitment he had undertaken concerned his participation in pre-congress dialogue and contacts with the grass roots.

    [02] Youth Parliament sessions end

    The two-day annual Youth Parliament concluded in Athens on Sunday, with Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas assuring the 300 young parliamentarians from schools throughout Greece, Cyprus and ethnic Greek communities around the world that their positions and statements "will not be lost in the minutes of Parliament", but instead the state will listen to and consider the concerns and observations they raised.

    Sioufas extended the greetings of all wings of parliament to the young parliamentarians, who he said had been given the opportunity to perceive the principles of Democracy "which functions with freedom but also rules, which are set out in the Rules of Parliament".

    "You realised the value of dialogue through rules. There is no Democracy without freedom of speech, but also without restrictions for the sake of the other person's freedom", Sioufas said.

    During a two-day session attended by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) leader George Karatzaferis, ministers, deputy ministers and representatives of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), the young MPs expressed their concerns and worries over the major issues of the country, and issues concerning the young people, and also put forward proposals and demanded solutions.

    Items on the agenda included education, the problem of narcotics, road accidents, unemployment, environmental protection, public administration, woman's position, migration, the health system, the Cyprus issue, and neighbouring EU candidate Turkey's adherence to European standards and principles.

    Caption: Teens from around the world took to the podium and addresses fellow delegates in the Greek Parliament during the 12th Youth Parliament session over the third weekend of January 2008 in Athens. ANA-MPA / KATERINA MAVRONA

    [03] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The Zachopoulos affair, proposed reforms in the social insurance sector, a latest opinion poll and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' upcoming visit to Turkey mostly dominated the main front-page items in Sunday's newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Who's turn is it for a salte mortale (Italian phrase for death leap)?".

    APOGEVMATINI: "The final arrangements for unification of social insurance funds - Government unwavering on creation of small number of (larger) social insurance funds".

    AVGHI: "Disgust over corruption - Government 'sinking' from revelations - Hope from Coalition of Radical Left (SYRIZA) alternative proposal".

    AVRIANI: "Crash, with 50 percent losses for ND (ruling New Democracy) and PASOK (main opposition) parties - Opinion polls".

    CHORA: "Home loans to military personnel with beneficial terms - What is changing with the new national defence ministry bill".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "The Spy who came in from Hell".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The citizens feel anger and shape - The morbid Zachopoulos affair is seen by the electorate as a crisis for institutions - MRB opinion poll".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Clearing up of accounts - Fear in government over threatening domino effect of new charges and depositions".

    ETHNOS: "Full attack on all social insurance funds - Exclusive: The new plan".

    KATHIMERINI: "The entire spectrum of coercion revealed, with new evidence - The faces and judicial developments in Zachopoulos affair".

    LOGOS: "Karamanlis visit to Turkey of 'high interest', although government is cultivating climate of 'low expectations' ".

    PROTO THEMA (weekly): "EYP (national intelligence service) knew about sex DVD - Mystery secret document arrived in Zachopoulos' hands a few weeks before he jumped (off a fourth-floor balcony the day after his resignation from the post of culture ministry secretary general )".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Rally on Jan. 22 for social insurance funds and collective labour agreements".

    TO VIMA: "The truth about DVD-gate - The protagonists, behind-the-scenes, and collusion - What the examining magistrate is investigating - What the government fears".

    VRADYNI: "9 lies and 5 truths - Zachopoulos affair - Blackmailers pointed to by Karamanlis - What terrorises the government".

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