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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-09-23

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 23/09/1996 (ANA)


  • PASOK wins second successive term in office
  • Main opposition New Democracy cadres jostle for position following Evert's resignation
  • Statements by leaders of small parties
  • Coastguard holding illegal immigrants in Patras


    Incumbent socialist prime minister Costas Simitis was today given a mandate to form a new government following the Panhellenic Socialist Movement's (PASOK) re-election in Sunday's general elections.

    With 98% of the vote counted, PASOK won 41.51 per cent of the overall votes and a comfortable majority of 162 seats in the 300-member Parliament.

    Simitis received the mandate from President of the Republic Constantine Stephanopoulos, on whom he called shortly after noon today to submit the resignation of his outgoing government.

    Simitis told journalists after the meeting that he expected to announce his new Cabinet ''in the next few days, after I have the final results and the names of the new deputies elected''.

    With votes in from 17,556 out of a total 17,710 polling stations throughout the country, the ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) had cemented its re-election with 41.51% and 162 seats in the 300-member Parliament, down from 46.88% and 170 seats gained in the October 1993 general elections.

    The main opposition New Democracy party remains steady in second place with 38.17% and 108 seats, down from 39.30% and 111 seats in the 1993 elections. ND party president Miltiades Evert resigned shortly before midnight last night when his party's defeat became clear, sparkling a jostling of high- ranking party members for the leadership.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), headed by party Secretary Aleka Papariga is in third position with 5.59% and 11 seats in Parliament, up from 4.54% and 9 seats in the 1993 polls.

    The Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos), headed by Nikos Constantonpoulos, made a spectacular comback to Parliament with 4.68% and 10 seats, against 2.94% and no seats in the October elections.

    The recently formed Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) of Dimitris Tsovolas, a former PASOK finance minister, made its debut in Parliament with 4.42% and 9 seats.

    The Political Spring party of Antonis Samaras, a former ND foreign minister, dropped to 2.95% and no seats from 4.88% and 10 seats in the October 1993 polls.

    Abstention stood at 23.7% among the 8.86 million registered voters.

    In a brief televised statement late last night, Simitis said that his new government would work with all Greeks in order to respond to the messages of today's electoral victory.

    The fact that the new parliament will be broadly represented, he said, referring to the entry of smaller parties, is a positive development ''and there will be greater possibilities for dialogue and consent in order to put forward solutions to the country's problems''.

    Simitis said that the Greek people had given their answer to the highly personal attacks launched during the election campaign and to the main opposition New Democracy party's ''black propaganda''.

    The Greek people, he added, were demanding ''a different quality, a different morality and style''.

    Simitis declined to comment on ND leader Miltiades Evert's resignation, saying only that ''it speaks for itself''.

    Dora Bakoyanni, daughter of former conservative prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis today announced her intention to contest the leadership of the main opposition New Democracy party (ND), defeated in Sunday's general elections.

    Bakoyanni, 42, is the first woman ever to seek the leadership of the conservative party.

    Widow of New Democracy MP Pavlos Bakoyannis, shot to death by the elusive November 17 terrorist group in 1989, Dora Bakoyanni is the second party cadre to formally announce candidacy for the leadership after Miltiades Evert resigned from the leadership after ND's defeat last night.

    ''I shall run for the New Democracy leadership, in order to serve the unity and propspects of the liberal and democratic party, which are of absolute priority,'' Bakoyanni told a press conference, describing Evert's resignation as ''honourable''.

    ''At this critical time, the party's unity and reorganisation are necessary, '' she said.

    Ms. Bakoyannis was first elected to Parliament in November 1989, two months after her husband's assassination by his single-seat district of Evrytania. Since then, she held a number of government posts in her father's government, which lost to the ruling socialists in the October 1993 elections. Mitsotakis resigned from the party leadership after that defeat, and was replaced by Evert after inside party elections, remaining honourary president of the party.

    She has a degree in political science from Munich.

    The first ND cadre to announce he would contest the leadership was prominent party member and former economy minister Stephanos Manos, 57, only hours after Evert announced his resignation.

    Manos has held several Cabinet posts since 1977, including minister of national economy, minister of finance and minister of industry.

    Evert congratulated his socialist rival, Prime Minister Costas Simitis on his election victory, adding that he was personally assuming responsibility for his party's defeat.

    ''I will not follow the examples of the past when a defeated leader attributed responsibility right and left,'' Evert said shortly after initial Interior Ministry results showed the Simitis' PASOK party nearly three per cent ahead of New Democracy.

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Aleka Papariga said late last night that the election result was characterised by two positive features.

    Firstly, she said, was the reduction in the strength of the two big parties and secondly, the increase in the KKE's share of the vote.

    The KKE, she added, could now play a more substantial role and protect the rights of workers.

    Papariga described the electoral law in force as ''daylight robbery'' and called on Greek people to organise its struggle, forecasting ''new anti- popular laws''.

    Democratic Social Movement leader (DHKKI) Dimitris Tsovolas described the election result as a starting point for ''responsible struggles'' aimed at ''democracy, social justice, national independence, the upgrading of institutions and transparency in administration''.

    He termed the resignation of main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert as ''an act of democratic sensitivity'' which proved that the political scene of the country had begun to change.

    DHKKI, he added, would play a ''catalytic'' role in the new scene by struggling both within and outside Parliament.

    Political Spring leader Antonis Samaras, whose party failed to win a seat in Parliament, said he respected the decision of the Greek people but warned that the country may enter ''a new cycle of compliance and austerity''.

    Acknowledging that it was not the result that he expected, Samaras said that it would nevertheless provide an opportunity to ''regroup'' the party's forces.

    The Coastguard is holding 32 Iraqi illegal immigrants of Kurdish origin in Patras after they arrived at the western port city on a ferry-boat from Corfu.

    The Iraqis boarded the ''Aretousa'' yesterday afternoon concealed in a truck driven by a 23-year-old Greek man from Halkida. Their final destination was Ancona, Italy.

    The illegal immigrants told coastguard officials that they had each paid 1, 500 dollars to the driver of the truck.

    The Iraqis and the Greek driver will appear before the public prosecutor later today.

    Meanwhile, 35 illegal immigrants from India and Pakistan are also being held in Patras awaiting deportation.

    Crew members discovered the Asians on Friday aboard the ferry-boat ''Knossos'' which was sailing from Patras to Ancona.

    The Knossos today returned to Patras from Corfu and the illegal immigrants were handed over to the police.


    Attica cloudy with possibility of rain later in the day. Temperatures between 20-28C. Thessaloniki cloudy with sporadic rain. Temperatures 16- 25C.


    Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Next Article
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