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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-03-07

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM: Government will stick to pre-election pledges, reforms
  • [02] PASOK issues 'Government Book of Unreliability'

  • [01] PM: Government will stick to pre-election pledges, reforms

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday underlined the government's determination to carry out reforms and implement New Democracy's pre-election pledges over the course of its four-year term, in statements after a cabinet meeting marking the 2nd anniversary since ND won the general elections.

    "Our word to the citizens, especially those who are financially weaker, still fully applies," he stressed.

    The prime minister noted that the electorate chose New Democracy two years ago and asked for political change in order to deal with the many and serious problems that had accumulated, and stressed that this mandate defined the government's goals.

    Referring to the work and priorities of his government, Karamanlis said that a pivotal point was the reform of state-owned utilities in order to avoid wasting taxpayers' money and allowing private- and public-sector joint ventures.

    He noted that the last measure would allow development throughout the country and channel more funds into health and education.

    The premier also stressed measures like a national land planning scheme now on the drawing board, major public works, the land registry and privatisations, as well as simplifying the process for issuing business licences.

    Karamanlis underlined, meanwhile, that the government's policies were already yielding results, bringing about a reduction in the public deficit and growth rates that were higher than the EU average, while pointing to an upcoming tax reform to reduce taxation rates for individuals and efforts underway to reduce unemployment and boost competitiveness.

    "The government does not hide the problems in order to construct a virtual reality," Karamanlis said, renewing his pledge to clash head-on with the "pathogenies of the past".

    During the cabinet meeting, the ministers reviewed the work of their ministries in the past two years and described the priorities each would set for the remainder of the government's term, while each ministry will issue a detailed announcement of its actions and future goals.

    Earlier, the premier received Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki at his office for a meeting focusing on the upcoming legislative agenda and Wednesday's events in Parliament - to coincide with International Women's Day -- honoring women's suffrage and female parliamentarians of Greece over the past half century.

    ANA file photo

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

    [02] PASOK issues 'Government Book of Unreliability'

    Main opposition PASOK on Tuesday issued a "Government Book of Unreliability" to mark the 2nd anniversary since the elections that brought the present government to power, with PASOK officials stressing that the "countdown for New Democracy's government has begun".

    PASOK National Council Secretary Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou said that the political climate has changed and that this is the result of a deep process in society, through the revelation of ND's policies and the positive action of PASOK and its president.

    She said the book's 156 pages listed the "ND's pre-election lies and populism" and said that the past two years were "wasted" for the country, a time in which it had gone backward instead of forward both at home and abroad.

    Noting that the incomes of working people, farmers and small business owners has "shrunk for the first time in 12 years," Xenoyiannakopoulou claimed that the past two years had "revealed the face of a right-wing, one-sided and autocratic policy that strikes at the many and benefits a few, big interests and winks an eye at the powerful, slowing the country's development."

    PASOK Parliamentary group secretary Dimitris Reppas, on his part, stressed that the party had not contented itself with listing the government's inadequacy but moved forward in a positively, suggesting an "alternative way".

    He accused the government of dividing citizens along party lines, dissolving social cohesion and having "establishment" policies, in which it identified itself with the institutions and the state, as in the case of the phone-tap affair or the Kapodistrias law.

    He also slammed what he called the government's "absence" from events abroad at a time when all the countries in the region were vying for a greater role in the region.

    PASOK officials said that the "Unreliability Book" will be presented on March 10 in the capitals of all Greek prefectures, during press conferences that will be attended by members of PASOK's Political Council, while the party was also considering a major political press conference by its leader George Papandreou in the next few days.

    ND secretary retaliates against PASOK 'black book'

    PASOK should try exercising self-criticism for the problems it bequeathed the country instead of issuing 'black books', ND Central Committee Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis said on Tuesday in response to the main opposition's attacks.

    Speaking after a meeting with ND MPs and party members in Thessaloniki, Zagoritis said that the latest opinion polls gave the ruling party a comfortable lead over PASOK, and the prime minister a good lead over Papandreou.

    He appeared confident that the electorate would renew the government's mandate when the elections came round again.

    "We will proceed more efficiently with implementing our pledges," he told reporters and said his talks with local party officials, during which they had reviewed the achievements of the past two years and discussed prospects for the last half of the government's term, had been useful.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.


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