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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-09-24

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

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


NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 24/09/1996 (ANA)

MAIN HEADLINES

  • Interior Ministry releases final election results
  • Battle for New Democracy party leadership begins
  • Markets welcome Simitis victory
  • Turkish reaction to election results
  • Greece's Moslem minority expresses satisfaction
  • Pangalos reiterates: Cyprus problem concerns Ankara and Nicosia, not an issue for talks between Ankara and Athens
  • Stephanopoulos to visit Finland on 8-10 October
  • Greek pharmaceutical industry undergoes restructuring

    NEWS IN DETAIL

    The Ministry of the Interior today released the final results of Sunday's general elections, with 100% of the votes from the 17,710 polling stations nationwide, as follows:
    Registered voters: 8,862,014
    Voted: 6,978,656      Abstention: 23.65 percent
    Valid: 6,780,049      Invalid: 139,821
    Blank: 58,786
    
    Party                                No. votes    Percentage    Seats
    -----                                ---------    ----------    -----
    PASOK:                               2,813,245      41.49       162
    NEW DEMOCRACY:                       2,584,765      38.12       108
    COMMUNIST PARTY OF GREECE (KKE)        380,167       5.61        11
    COALITION OF LEFT AND PROGRESS (SYN)   347,051       5.12        10
    DEMOCRATIC SOCIAL MOVEMENT (DHKKI)     300,671       4.43         9
    POLITICAL SPRING (POL.AN.)             199,463       2.94       none
    

    One day after its defeat at the polls and the resignation of Miltiades Evert, the New Democracy party yesterday set the process in motion for the election of a new leader.

    After former ND economy minister Stephanos Manos announced his candidacy for the leadership Sunday night, Dora Bakoyanni, daughter of former conservative prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis yesterday announced her intention to contest the leadership.

    Meanwhile, sources close to Mr. Evert said yesterday that the ND leader did not plan to re-claim party leadership, but did not rule out the possibility for such a development.

    Mr. Evert, who handed in his resignation yesterday noon while calling for the initiation of procedures for the election of a new party leader, was even considering retirement from active politics.

    ND Parliamentary Group Secretary Stavros Dimas said procedures will be initiated in the next few days.

    The same sources said party MP Costas Karamanlis may also be a potential candidate for the leadership of ND.

    In another development, former ND education minister George Souflias, who implied on Sunday night that he might seek the party presidency, will probably announce his candidacy today, party sources said.


    Traders on the Athens Bourse welcomed the Simitis win yesterday, with financial markets in a climate of euphoria and prices dipping on profit- taking after a strong opening.

    Before the day was out, money-markets recorded softer interest rates and increased foreign exchange coming into the country to buy high yielding Treasury bills after the socialists' win. The drachma moved higher against the ECU.

    Financial analysts said this development was expected following the solid victory of Prime Minister Costas Simitis over his conservative rival on Sunday's elections.

    They said Mr. Simitis was faced with tough challenges ahead as the country's financial markets expected the prime minister to deliver on his campaign promises for a stronger, more competitive economy.

    With attention focused on Mr. Simitis' pledge that Greece's future lay firmly within the European Union, the analysts said the markets expected Mr. Simitis to lead Greece on the road to economic recovery without delays or surprises, sticking to his pro- European, strict economic policies.

    In his campaign, Mr. Simitis promised privatisations of small state banks, a draft bill to introduce equity derivatives and further deregulation of pension funds to be allowed to invest assets in the stock market.

    Business associations expect crucial decisions by new government

    Business and professional association leaders yesterday were in an expectant mood for crucial decisions concerning the course of the Greek economy, after PASOK's re-election with an absolute majority of seats.

    "The new government is shouldering the great responsibility...now, with the fresh mandate of voters, even the slightest delay in implementing the convergence programme is unjustifiable," said Association of Greek Industries (SEB) President Iason Stratos.

    "We are expecting the government to implement its pre-election commitments for drastic cutbacks in state spending and adherence to the pledge for no new direct or indirect taxes," said President of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA), Ioannis Papathanasiou.

    "We expect a turn in the government's mood towards traders, with its policy statement and the person that will assume the post in the relevant economic ministry," President of the National Traders' Confederation, Dimitris Kapsalis said.


    Turkey said yesterday it had no comment to make on the re-election of Prime Minister Costas Simitis in Greece.

    Foreign minister spokesman Sermet Atacanli was quoted telling a news briefing that "the elections are something that concern the Greek people themselves so we have no comment on that."

    Ankara's tight-lipped statement however was not endorsed by the press, who hailed Mr. Simitis' win as a victory for peace.

    Most Turkish newspapers regarded Mr. Simitis' re-election as an easy win but noted that Greece "has now at last a stable government to lead it to the 21st century."

    Many newspapers said Mr. Simitis did not wish for tension with Turkey, adding that even though the Greek prime minister considers Turkey "a threat, " he follows a policy promoting solutions to differences between the two countries within the framework of international agreements and international law.

    Meanwhile a Turkish official said Mr. Simitis' win could have a positive influence on Greek-Turkish relations.


    The Moslem minority of Western Thrace expressed satisfaction at PASOK President Costas Simitis' election victory on Sunday. Three Moslem minority officials earned Parliamentary seats in the elections.

    The Turkish Anatolia news agency quoted the three as saying they would continue, from within the Greek parliament, "to support the rights of the Moslem minority."

    PASOK deputy for Rodopi, Galip Sabahaddin Galip said that "with the the support of PASOK, I intend to solve the existing problems, and will try for the minority to become a bridge of friendship between Greece and Turkey."

    Coalition of the Left and Progress party deputy for Rodopi, Mustafa Mustafa, said he "will cooperate with the democratic forces of Greece for logic to prevail in the problems of the minority."

    New Democracy deputy for Xanthi Birol Aktifoglu stated, "it is very important for the problems of the Greek minority to be heard in Greek public opinion in a healthy manner.


    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said today in response to a statement by his Turkish counterpart, that the Cyprus problem was an issue between Turkey and the government of Cyprus, and not one of dialogue between Athens and Ankara, according to an ANA dispatch from New York.

    ''The Cyprus question is an issue between Turkey and the government of cyprus. Dialogue between Greece and Turkey on the Cyprus issue is inconceivable,'' Pangalos told reporters in New York, where he went to attend the UN General Assembly.

    He was commenting on a proposal by Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller, who called for a Greek-Turkish dialogue on the Cyprus problem during a meeting with American counterpart Warren Christopher.

    Asked whether Prime Minister Costas Simitis should take a more active role on the Cyprus problem, as indicated by State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns, the Greek Foreign Minister replied:

    ''He did not say that, exactly. It would be a bit strange for Mr. Burns to arrange precisely what Mr. Simitis, who is the Prime Minister of an independent country, will do. He said they (the United States) expected us to participate in the initiatives they shall take. We, as you know, as a country, have for many decades now been firmly seeking a settlement of the Cyprus problem and the participation of all those who can play a positive role and contribute to its resolution. The United States is, obviously, one of those countries, which can play a role, and has repeatedly announced it would undertake a decisive initiative. Let them undertake it. We shall assess the content of the initiative and, of course, if we can cooperate with them for the advancement of a solution to the Cyprus problem that is just, viable and lasting, than we shall do so.''


    President Kostis Stephanopoulos will pay an official visit to Finland from 8-10 October at the invitation of his Finnish counterpart Martti Ahtisaari.

    In addition to Helsinki, Stephanopoulos will also visit Kuopio, the seat of the Orthodox Archbishopric of Carelia and All Finland.


    The Greek pharmaceutical industry went through considerable restructuring during the 1990-95 period, a sectoral study by the Economic and Industrial Research Institute(IOBE) has revealed.

    The study revealed that the ageing population, the extention of medical care to more population groups and the increase in disposable income are the basic factors determining the consumption of drugs. It found that the average annual increase in consump tion during the period in question, measured in terms of value (retail prices), was 28.58 per cent, whereas the average annual increase in terms of quantity amounted to 2.84 per cent, revealing that the increase in consumption has not been significant.

    On the supply side, the study indicated the sector is characterised by the absence of companies dominating a market share greater than 6.4 per cent, and by the large percentage of firms (40 per cent) which are both producers and importers. Given that de mand is to a great extent independent of the price, the study stressed that market is dominated more by supply than demand.

    WEATHER

    Mostly sunny and a further drop in temperatures rannging from 18-27C in Athens and 15-23C in Thessaloniki.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE (Buying)

    U.S. dlr 237.882, Can. dlr.173.597, Australian dlr. 188.316, Pound sterling 369.441, Irish punt 380.630, Cyprus pd 512.170, French franc 46.326, Swiss franc 191.892 Belgian franc 7.619, German mark 158.865, Finnish mark 52.463, Dutch guilder 139.897 Danish Kr. 40.813, Swedish Kr. 35.962, Norwegian Kr. 36.722, Austrian Sh. 22.300, Italian lira (100) 15.600 Yen (100) 216.405, Spanish Peseta 1.864, Portuguese Escudo 1.540.

    (S.S.)


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