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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-10-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM: Stakes of local gov't elections 'political'

  • [01] PM: Stakes of local gov't elections 'political'

    Prime minister George Papandreou said Sunday that the stakes of the November 7 local administration elections are political as the citizens, with their vote, will respond to the quandary of whether they want the country to move forward -- through continuation of the difficult task of saving the economy and deep-rooted reform -- or backwards.

    Speaking in Larissa at a regional conference, Papandreou said the upcoming local elections were a crossroads for the country.

    He said that, for the first time, the overwhelming majority of the citizens are agonizing and demanding that the government succeeds in the task it has undertaken. "Even those who we have distressed or those who react, want us to succeed," Papandreou said, adding that "we will succeed".

    The premier also made a scathing attack on main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras and referring to the latter's repeated criticism of Papandreou's statement before the last general elections that "money exists", stressed: "Would that we had the time for all the measures we have taken to bring in money so that it would not have been necessary to ask for sacrifices from the usual burden-holders, the salary and pension earners. But we did not have that time. However, the measures we have taken will enable us to make restitution to all those we hurt, and we will succeed in gradually but firmly transferring the burdens to where the wealth truly exists and in striking a blow against wasteful spending."

    "This is our socialist commitment," he added.

    Defending his PASOK government's choices, Papandreou said that the recent positive articles in the international press and statements of acknowledgement of Greece's "titanic effort" over the past 12 months are the strong response to those who claim that with its struggle the government is slandering Greece.

    Papandreou further stressed that the EU support mechanism is a "shield", adding that "at a critical time, one would expect the main opposition to act responsibly, first of all by changing page itself from its own past, acknowledging truths and contributing to overcoming the national crisis that its own policy caused".

    "But they did not do so...and it grieves me that the present ND leadership does not find the courage to do so. It concealed and is concealing truths. It is banking on the failure of our own efforts for petty party reasons, forgetting the interests of the country," the premier continued.

    Even today, he added, Eurostat is finding "blue (ND) skeletons in the deficit closet".

    Papandreou further said that he agreed with Samaras on one point, that the Memorandum could have been avoided, but "if elections had been called a year earlier". At that time, the Memorandum could have been avoided, he added.

    The premier further accused ND of "opportunistic politics" and a "magical recipe" for eliminating the deficit. "They only had one magic recipe. They counted on the bomb they had created bursting in our hands. Fortunately for the country, however, we averted this," Papandreou said.

    Unlike preceding ND prime minister Costas Karamanlis and Samaras "we do not promise to eliminate the deficit in one year".

    "What we do promise, however, is to continue the struggle so as not to go through again that which we have gone through this past year and for Greece to have a respected and dignified name," Papandreou said, adding that his government is fighting for the country's independence so that lender forces will not be needed. "We took on a country in a state of collapse and had the patriotic duty to stop the downfall," he said.

    Admitting that the measures taken were neither in PASOK's pre-election pledges nor in the government's post-electoral intentions, Papandreou stressed: "Of course money exists. It exists in the state property that we are exploiting in the public interest, whereas the only thing they did was engage in deals with monastery-realtors. It exists in the waste in the public sector that we have curtailed by one billion euros. It exists in the medicine that is now being prescribed electronically, whereas they allowed an orgy of waste and profiteering. It exists in the offshore companies they left unscathed. It exists in every luxury home, craft and car, where they did not want to impose a single euro in taxes. We, however, with cross-checks, will tax justly."

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