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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-11-06

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM: Result of Sunday polls crucial
  • [02] Beglitis concludes three-day visit to U.S.
  • [03] First round of local government elections opens on Sunday
  • [04] LAOS urges all-party gov't

  • [01] PM: Result of Sunday polls crucial

    Stability for the country or further adventures was the wager at stake in Sunday's local government elections, Prime Minister George Papandreou repeated in an interview published by the newspaper "Ta Nea" on Saturday.

    Papandreou strongly criticised the opposition parties and especially main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras for adopting anti-Memorandum rhetoric, accusing them of populism and sacrificing the country's best interests to the final tally in the ballot box.

    "Without a trace of compunction, for months now, they have considered that the local government elections would be a good opportunity to wound our national struggle. To outbid each other in populism, contend in demagoguery, with the exclusive goal of 'scalding' the government," Papandreou noted.

    "All they care about is to be able to say on the night of the elections that PASOK was defeated and that, therefore, the effort we are making to extricate the country from the great impasse has been defeated. That the government has lost the legitimacy to continue its policies," he added.

    Papandreou emphasised that his statements about holding early general elections if PASOK was defeated were not a bluff. Noting that this was not his preferred course, he nevertheless stressed that his decisions would be guided by what he considered best for the country and that the results of the first Sunday would be crucial in making his decision.

    "On November 7 the citizens have an opportunity to give a clear answer concerning the country's course: forward to stability and self-evident changes or backward to adventures," he stressed.

    Papandreou also denied that he was considering "flight" from the prime minister's office - such as by taking up a post in the United Nations - underlining that "my duty is here, to my country, with the mandate given to me by the Greek people".

    He repeated, however, that his only criterion for making decisions was whether the country's course toward stability was threatened, in which case the "sovereign people will have to make their decisions".

    "The message from the ballot boxes will be of definitive importance, especially that in the first Sunday for the regional authorities," he said.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [02] Beglitis concludes three-day visit to U.S.

    WASHINGTON (ANA-MPA - A. Ellis) Greece's Alternate Defence Minister Panos Beglitis on Friday ended a three-day working visit to Washington, during which he presented the U.S. military leadership with a memorandum describing Turkey's behaviour in the Aegean in recent years.

    During the visit he met U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (ISA) Alexander Vershbow and the chairman of the U.S. Armed Forces Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen.

    Beglitis expressed Athens' strong concern over the behaviour and practices adopted by Ankara in the Aegean, particularly the constant violations of Greek air space and other actions that clearly aimed to dispute the legal status and Greece's territorial rights in the region.

    At the same time, he repeated the Greek government's desire to improve relations with Turkey and pointed to Greece's support of Turkey's European perspective on condition that Turkey fulfilled the obligations arising from the treaties governing the operation of the European Union.

    Concerning Greece's participation in peace-keeping missions, Beglitis emphasised that Greece had remained a steadfast, faithful and reliable ally through its participation in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, KFOR in Kosovo and the operations against piracy in Somalia, in spite of its current economic difficulties. He also pointed to the country's contribution to regional security issues in the Balkans and Mediterranean.

    During his visit there was a meeting between delegations of the two countries at the High Level Consultative Committee that held an in-depth discussions on ways to further improve and enhance the strategic partnership of the two countries.

    Beglitis also had the opportunity to discuss a series of issues focusing on the upcoming NATO summit in Lisbon, NATO relations with Russia and the EU and Greece's contribution to peace-keeping missions for protecting world peace and security.

    Beglitis also briefed U.S. officials on recent changes to modernise the Greek armed forces and a series of measures taken to create a "modern, flexible and efficient force" that was of higher quality in terms of equipment and operations.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [03] First round of local government elections opens on Sunday

    The first round of local government elections using the new 'Kallikratis' plan begins in Greece on Sunday, November 7, between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.

    This election introduces a number of new elements following the sweeping changes to the boundaries of local authorities under the Kallikratis plan, which greatly reduced the number of municipalities but also made them much larger, while abolishing the second-tier local authorities governing prefectures and introducing 13 elected regional authority governors.

    The recent announcement by Prime Minister George Papandreou that a poor result for PASOK may lead him to consider the prospect of early general elections has raised also raised the stakes a great deal higher than is usual for a local government election.

    In areas where there is no clear winner during the first round of elections, there will be a second round on November 14 at the same times and using the same procedure.

    If the vote fails to take place in a municipality or in one or more polling stations for any reason, another election will be held on Wednesday, November 10.

    Those eligible to vote for municipal councils and mayors are Greek nationals resident in the municipality that are over 18 and registered in their municipality or community electoral roll, as well as nationals of any of the 26 European Union member-states that are over 18, permanent residents of Greece and registered in the special electoral rolls of the municipality where they reside (up until August 31, 2010).

    Those eligible to vote for regional authority officials do not include EU member-state citizens, Greek expatriates without Greek nationality and legal residents from third countries.

    Those deprived of their rights to vote cannot vote in these elections.

    Those that have no obligation to vote in the elections are foreign nationals, those aged over 70 and those that are more than 200 kilometres from the polling station where they vote (this must be certified by the municipality in the location they are in).

    Those wanting to vote must display either a police ID card or temporary replacement issued by a proper authority, or a valid passport, or a driving licence, or social insurance fund booklet. Voters not included in the electoral roll that have not been deprived of their voting rights can apply to the municipality or community where they are registered in order to request a certificate that they are registered in the municipal register in order to exercise their voting rights.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

    [04] LAOS urges all-party gov't

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis on Saturday expressed the opinion that the political parties would show greater willingness to reach an understanding on the Monday after the local government elections, the first round of which take place on Sunday.

    Speaking to reporters during a dinner, Karatzaferis expressed hope that Prime Minister George Papandreou would "not succumb to the temptation for a political deviation" and explained that he meant the leaked rumours about holding double elections, both for local government and for Parliament.

    He also repeated his proposal for an all-party government, saying that he would not support an extended Papandreou government but would participate in a government that also included main opposition New Democracy and its leader Antonis Samaras.

    According to LAOS's leader, Papandreou was not in control of his own party and for this reason had been unable to impose the candidates of his choice for regional authorities.

    More details on the subscriber's page of APE-MPE | Subscription request form

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