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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2004-02-20

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, February 20, 2004








  • [01] THE SITUATION BEFORE THE BALLOT A lead of three percent was given to ND by the latest polls published yesterday and which are the last of this pre-election period, as public opinion polls are now forbidden until the end of the elections. As far as who is more appropriate for the positi on of Prime Minister, Mr. Papandreou is steadily ahead of Mr. Karamanlis by 2 points. The KKE is steadily above 5% and the Coalition of the Left is only marginally above 3%. DIKKI and LAOS gathered less than the 3% that is required for representation in P arliament. ND has a major lead as far as victory probability is concerned. Young voters choose Papandreou over Karamanlis.
  • [02] PAPANDREOU PROPOSES NEW NATIONAL UNITY President of PASOK G. Papandreou asked for a new national unity during his speech in Mytilini, so that Greece can change. He called all citizens from all political sides to support the great democratic front, while he accused ND of being unable to expres s the new era and stressed the risk of the elections: "A new decade of creation, prosperity and solidarity will begin, or everything Greece and the Greek people, the non privileged Greek, have conquered, will be shaken to its foundation", said Mr. Papandr eou.
  • [03] ND SEES DAMAGE TO THE POLITICAL CULTURE An attack against the government and the President of PASOK, Giorgos Papandreou, was launched by President of ND Costas Karamanlis, during an event at the "Constantinos Karamanlis" Democracy Institute, on the topic of "For a new political culture". The P resident of ND pointed out that issues are raised which damage the essence and quality of Democracy, politics and the political culture. The President of ND stressed that the most serious threat for the quality of Democracy is the submission of government

    policy to outside influence.

  • [04] AEK GOING TO NIKOLAIDIS An initial agreement has been reached between Demis Nikolaidis and ENIC, regarding the acquisition of the majority of AEK FC stocks. The above was announced in the personal website of the 31-year-old Athletico Madrid striker. The agreement foresees the i mmediate investment of 5 million euro in AEK from the group of investors and which is under legal and financial audit by the FC, as well as the achievement of an agreement on a series of issues with the other major stockholder in AEK FC, Netmed.
  • [05] THREE LEADERS IN I THESSALONIKI Three political leaders will be running in the I Thessaloniki electoral district, as, after Costas Karamanlis, who has been continuously elected in the district since 1989, and Nikos Constantopoulos, who recently announced his decision to run there, it w as made known yesterday that the President of PASOK will also be a candidate in the same electoral district. Mr. Papandreou will also run in Larissa, Mr. Karamanlis in the Dodecanese islands, and Mr. Constantopoulos in the I Athens. In the 2000 elections,

    PASOK had won 7 seats in Thessaloniki, ND had won 5 seats, and the KKE and the Coalition each had one seat in the city. There are now 16 seats to be contended for.

  • [06] THREE NEW POLLS (OPINION, VPRC, DIMEL) A difference of 3.1% in favor of ND was recorded in the Opinion poll for the "Eleftherotypia" newspaper, while to the question of who is most appropriate for the position of Prime Minister, Giorgos Papandreou is slightly ahead of Costas Karamanlis.

    In vote intention ND concentrated 39.9%, PASOK 36.8%, KKE 5.5%, the Coalition 3.2%, DIKKI 1.5%, LAOS 2.2%, and there are 7.3% who are undecided. Regarding who is most appropriate for the position of Prime Minister, 47% supported the President of PASOK an d 42.8% supported the President of ND.

    The VPRC poll published in the "Kathimerini" newspaper gave ND a 4.2% lead. In vote intent ND concentrated 42.5%, PASOK 38.3%, KKE 4.4%, the Coalition 2.6%, DIKKI 1.1%, LAOS 1.3% and 2.9% are undecided. Giorgos Papandreou is considered more appropriate f or the position of Prime Minister with 45% in contrast to C. Karamanlis' 40%.

    The DIMEL poll published in "Cosmos tou Ependyti" gave ND a lead of 3.4%. ND concentrated 40.8%, PASOK 37.4%, KKE 5.6%, the Coalition 3.2%, DIKKI 2.1% LAOS 1.1% and 9% were undecided.

  • [07] THE PICTURE OF THE POLLS Five new polls published today before the beginning of the forbiddance enforced by electoral legislature gave ND a clear lead of 3% ahead of PASOK. The greatest difference was given by the VPRC poll with 4.2% and the smallest was that of Metron Analysis with 2.9%. Mr. Papandreou is ahead in the answers as to who is more appropriate for the position of Prime Minister in all five polls. KKE is above 5% in almost all polls and the Coalition is steadily around 3%. DIKKI and LAOS are below the 3% required for

    participation in Parliament. ND has a major lead in victory probability. Young voters prefer Mr. Papandreou over Mr. Karamanlis.

  • [08] G. PAPANDREOU: EDUCATION IS MY FIRST PRIORITY President of PASOK Giorgos Papandreou made mention of a four-year tenure of education and culture, during the presentation of PASOK's educational program. Mr. Papandreou called all bodies to a social dialogue for the change of the university entrance ex amination system, while he launched a severe attack against New Democracy, accusing it of not having responded to any of the requests for a dialogue on education, and of having views and proposals that belong to the previous century.

    Giorgos Papandreou's announcements on education include changes in the university entrance exams (aiming at decreasing student angst, the limitation of exams and the eradication of the need for extra lessons in preparation for the exams), the entrance of

    students to schools and not to sections, the creation of non-state owned non-profit tertiary education institutions, the abolition of the Inter-University Center for the Recognition of Foreign Degrees, the evaluation of universities and of the Ministry o f Education, the merger of services of the Ministries of Education and of Labor in vocational training and employment, the potential choice of body and further education programs for young people, all-day secondary school and life long education for teach ers.

    At the same time he announced that by 2008 all elementary schools will be equipped with informatics systems and that by 2006 55,000 teachers will be trained in new technology issues. Finally, the major school housing program will be completed by the end of 2005, so as do away with the double shifts in Thessaloniki and Athens.

    The President of PASOK made a commitment that education will be first priority when he is elected. He noted that important work was carried out over the past few years, recognized that mistakes were made and promised that they would be resolved.

  • [09] KARAMANLIS: WE WILL BRING CHANGES Determined to change and not just manage the system as prime minister, stated right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis, in an interview with newspaper "Kosmos tou Ependiti".

    Mr. Karamanlis appears certain that New Democracy will be the winner in the March 7 parliamentary elections and underlined that people call for effective solutions in the numerous and big problems they face and know that only New Democracy can produce so lutions. He said that he knows that these are crucial elections, stressing that his party is optimistic and strong.

    Mr. Karamanlis also said that he believes in a small and versatile government, meaning smaller number of ministries through mergers.

    The leader of New Democracy stressed that his rivals are both PASOK Prime Minister Kostas Simitis and PASOK leader Giorgos Papandreou, stressing that PASOK has changed leadership but it has not changed its policy.

  • [10] MARGINAL LOSSES IN THE ASE Marginal losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.15% at 2465.35 points, while the volume of transactions was at 106.2 million euros.

    Of the stocks trading today, 141 had gains and 143 had losses, while the value of 104 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [11] NEW OPINION POLL SHOWS A GAP OF 2.9% BETWEEN PASOK AND ND The gap between governing Socialist Party of PASOK and right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy is at 2.9 percentage points based on the answers given to the question, which party people intend to vote for, according to a new opinion poll by "Me tron Forum" polling company held on February 4-18 on behalf of television station ET3.

    New Democracy leads with 40.2% compared to PASOK's 37.3%, Communist Party 5.3%, Coalition of Radical Left 3.4%, Democratic Social Movement 1.3% and L.A.O.S. 1.6%. A 0.5% will vote for another party, the blank vote is at 0.3%, invalid/no vote 1.6%, undeci ded 3.6% and 4.4% did not respond to the question.

    Asked which party they believe will win the elections, 50.7% responded that New Democracy will be the winner compared to PASOK's 34.1%, while 15.2% responded that no one of the two major parties will win the elections.

    PASOK's Giorgos Papandreou is regarded more fit for the post of the Prime Minister (43.1%) compared to New Democracy's Kostas Karamanlis (41.2%).

  • [12] THE NEW NATO SECRETARY GENERAL VISITS GREECE New NATO Secretary General Mr. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is on a visit to Greece and met with President Kostis Stephanopoulos in Athens, while he also had a working lunch with Prime Minister Kostas Simitis in the presence of Foreign Minister Tasos Giannitsis

    and Minister of Defense Yiannos Papantoniou.

    In the working lunch were raised issues concerning NATO's contribution to security in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, the transformation of NATO's capabilities, the new command structure, NATO's presence in the Balkans and the enlargement of the alliance.

    Prime Minister Kostas Simitis underlined the need for NATO's presence in the Balkans, stressing that NATO's enlargement and its good cooperation with Russia and the European Union are necessary.

    On his part, Mr. Scheffer referred to the NATO Summit meeting to be held in Istanbul and pointed out that the situation in Afghanistan, the Balkans and NATO's relations with Russia will be among the issues that will be raised in the meeting.

  • [13] THE GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER IN THE EU GENERAL AFFAIRS COUNCIL Greek Foreign Minister Tasos Giannitsis departs for Brussels on February 22 to participate in the proceedings of the European Union General Affairs Council.

    The Council is expected to deal with the preparations for the Spring Summit meeting and fiscal prospects, while the EU Foreign Ministers will discuss the latest developments in Cyprus on February 23.

    The foreign relations agenda will also include among others the developments in Iran, the EU-Russian relations, the action programs for the policies on the European neighborly relations, the Middle East and the situation in Western Balkans.

  • [14] TELEPHONE COMMUNICATION BETWEEN GIANNITSIS AND POWELL US Secretary of State Colin Powell had a telephone communication with Greek Foreign Minister Tasos Giannitsis as a follow up to his congratulatory letter on the occasion of Mr. Giannitsis' taking over the Greek Foreign Ministry.

    Mr. Giannitsis and Mr. Powell discussed developments in Cyprus and exchanged views on the procedure followed in the talks that are in progress in Nicosia since yesterday.

    Mr. Powell confirmed, one more time, the United States' interest in the solution of the Cyprus problem within the UN framework and on the basis of the Annan Plan.


  • [15] 2ND ROUND OF NEGOTIATIONS COMPLETED The atmosphere during the 2nd round of negotiations between President of the Cypriot Republic Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, that were concluded today in the presence of special UN envoy Alvaro de Soto, were good, stated Mr . Denktash, but there was no mobility regarding the major issues. On his way back to the occupied part of the island, Mr. Denktash stated that they discussed issues such as where the Central Government would be housed, the flag, and the national anthem bu t the major issues were not discussed. Discussions will continue on Tuesday, due to the holiday of Clean Monday.

    However, the Turkish Cypriot leader did not scorned Mr. De Soto's appeal that the discussions of the first day not be leaked to the press, and he proceeded to inform the press of the developments, claiming that the Greek Cypriot press was receiving infor mation and he could not leave the Turkish Cypriot people in the dark.

    According to the Turkish "Hurriet" newspaper publications, Mr. Denktash stated that the Greek Cypriot side asked that the Turkish settlers that acquired the "Turkish Cypriot" citizenship not be allowed to vote. "In our Constitution we do not have what yo u call settlers. When we said that for us the citizenship stands, they told us to change our Constitution. Of course we will not accept this. Those who voted in the elections are citizens of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and will remain as such" , stated Rauf Denktash.

    Furthermore, he continued that the issue of a "bizonal" Cyprus was discussed. "The Greek Cypriots", he said, "have foreseen two zones based on national discrimination. Issues of property enter this issue of zone division. We asked that a committee be for med for the restitution of the damages our people suffered from 1963 to 1974". Regarding the Annan proposal, he stressed that it includes the principal of the founding state and added that the two nationalities, and not founding state must be the base, be cause, as he supported, if the opposite occurs, Greek Cypriots will be able to travel to Turkish Cypriot territories, assume citizenship, be elected to the Senate and represent the Turkish Cypriots, thus unsettling the balance. "According to the plan", he

    added, "70,000 to 80,000 Greek Cypriots will come among us and vote. The reality is that there are two equal peoples".

    Mr. Denktash also stated today, that he will continue to brief the Turkish Cypriots daily, on the course of the discussions.

  • [16] MARCH 31ST, THE BEST DAY March 31st will be the best day, stated President of the Cypriot Republic Tassos Papadopoulos, after the completion of his second meeting with Turkish Cypriot President Rauf Denktash. Mr. Papadopoulos stated that he had in private discussions with Mr. De

    Soto concerning certain issues he did not disclose. Mr. Denktash said that the atmosphere was good, but there was no mobility as far as the essence is concerned. President Papadopoulos did not comment on Mr. Denktash's statements, however he did observe that the majority of the issues being raised by the Turkish Cypriot leader are "outside the plan and the plan's parameters".

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