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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-09-07

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Ålection can be won, time to tackle problems
  • [02] Ancient column capital missing from Ancient Olympia
  • [03] President dissolves Parliament, proclaims elections

  • [01] Ålection can be won, time to tackle problems

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Sunday vigorously defended his decision to call snap general elections early next month, stressing that he has always told the truth to the people about the state of the country and will continue to do so, and expressing confidence that his ruling New Democracy (ND) party will win the upcoming national elections for the third consecutive time..

    A confident Karamanlis spoke during a customary press conference inaugurating the 74th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on Sunday.

    He also said it was time to look the long-standing inherent problems of the Greek economy in the eye, and said the policies he announced the previous day were tough but practicable, and definitely not tragic, adding that a difficult two years were ahead, but would produce results.

    Regarding the snap elections he has called for Oct. 4, Karamanlis said "nothing can be taken for granted", adding his conviction that "this battle can be won" and stressing that "I will give my all, as never before", speaking during a press conference at the 74th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).

    Asked if he planned to resign from the helm of ruling ND party in the event the party loses the elections, Karamanlis replied: "No, I am not resigning; for as long as I feel useful, I will remain on the front line of battles and ideals."

    The premier ruled out the prospect of a post-electoral collaboration either with main opposition PASOK or the right-of-centre Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party in the event no party achieved a self-sufficient majority vote, explaining that collaborations "cannot give solutions to today's problems".

    Specifically regarding LA.OS, Karamanlis said it was a party with extremist ideology, stressing that there would be no collaboration "with the extremes".

    Karamanlis reiterated that the exclusive criterion for his decision to seek a "fresh popular mandate" by calling snap early elections had been "the national interest alone" and, addressing himself to the people, added: "That's who I am. I presented my policy to you. There may have been certain mistakes and weaknesses, but I am determined to carry out what I say, and I will do so."

    Asked whether cadres whose names had been implicated in scandals would be included on the ND ballots, Karamanlis stressed that "everyone is judged on his overall conduct", and asked the press to be patient for a few days until the candidate lists were completed and made public.

    To a question on whether he believed that ND will win the upcoming elections, Karamanlis replied: "Yes. As simple as that"


    Turning to the economy, Karamanlis said the time has come to "look in the eye the long-standing inherent problems of the Greek economy", and mainly the excessive public debt. He warned that there were two difficult years ahead for the country, and reiterated his announcements made the night before at the prime minister's annual TIF address for streamlining of the public sector, tackling tax-evasion and a "redoubled" continuation of the structural changes.

    "It is certain that the recipe will produce yield, but this requires two years of efforts," the premier said in reply to a press question, warning that if the necessary, difficult, decisions are not applied now, "the bill will come a little bit later, but much heavier".

    To another question, he clarified that "I never spoke of an increase in taxes", and personally guaranteed that there will be no suspension of payments by the Greek state up to the end of 2009.

    Karamanlis explained that with the "tough, but not tragic, and practicable" policies he announced on Saturday night, a fiscal balance could be achieved in two years' time.

    An immense state debt has accrued over the past 30 years, and the target is to have permanently and structurally reversed this tendency in two years, the prime minister stressed, adding that he has never "implied that the state of the economy is tragic", while Greece had "avoided the worst" in the global financial crisis.

    Asked why the government had not implemented earlier the measures announced on Saturday, Karamanlis explained that the policies of the preceding years had without doubt been in the right direction, had produced results and will continue to do so, "but what changed things and made them more urgent was the crisis".

    He reiterated the government's determination to stamp out tax evasion with better cross-checks, more audits, stricter penalties and the requirement of proof that income justifies lifestyle while, asked whether the measures announced would adversely affect the lower incomes, the prime minister stressed that "when you declare war on tax evasion, it is not the weaker incomes that are hit".

    [02] Ancient column capital missing from Ancient Olympia

    The capital of a column from an early Christian church has gone missing from the grounds of the Ancient Olympia archaeological site and is presumed stolen, the culture ministry has announced. The police have been informed about the incident and asked to assist in recovering it.

    According to an announcement late on Saturday, a guard at Ancient Olympia had reported that the artifact was missing from its usual place and described it as "a capital measuring 30cm by 30cm by 20cm that belonged to the early Christian basilica of the 6th century A.D." The capital and other architectural elements were positioned on a wall around the church, in the open.

    An internal inquiry has been launched by the General Directorate for Antiquities and Cultural Heritage and the head of the 7th Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities of Ancient Olympia Conservancy Georgia Hatzi has been suspended from duty until further notice.

    The Deputy head of the Antiquities and Cultural Heritage directorate Maria Blazaki has been put in charge of the search for the missing artifact and asked to go to Ancient Olympia.

    A search for the missing artifact, to discover whether it had been moved to another spot on the archaeological site was carried out at first light, immediately after its loss was reported, but nothing was found.

    [03] President dissolves Parliament, proclaims elections

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday signed an order dissolving Parliament and proclaiming elections on October 4, and for the convening of the Parliament arising from the elections on Wednesday, October 14.
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