2004 Elections will be held in Greece in the spring of 2004, stated Prime Minister Kostas Simitis speaking in a luncheon with government and party leading officials in Thessaloniki Saturday. Mr. Simitis stressed that until then a lot need to be done, adding that the government has completed many projects and there are more to be presented. He added that the governing Socialist Party of PASOK will have to give its battle with self-confidence and determination.
On the right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy, Mr. Simitis stated that it will not leave the battle without a fight and will use every means to create a grim atmosphere. Within this framework, it will exploit groups of workers that have unwise
demands, said the Prime Minister.
On his part, PASOK Central Committee Secretary Michalis Chrisochoidis stated that the governing party has assumed a combat disposition and the major issue is to explain to the people the social package announced by the Prime Minister, while at the same t ime, complete the reconstruction of PASOK.
Greece needs elections now, said President of ND Costas Karamanlis from Chalkida, while accusing the government of creating a “state of plunder. In a new harsh wave of criticism, speaking at the Evoia Chamber of Commerce, Costas Karamanlis stressed that the measures announced by Mr. Simitis are in no way a redistribution of wealth, and characteristically said that the greatest redistribution of wealth that has been carried out in Greece during all the years that PASOK has been in government, are the thirty billion drachmas (88 .041.085 euro) that were lost in the stock market.
The President of ND underlined that the Prime Minister and the government cannot erase the memory of the people, while drawing on the upcoming “Charta of Convergence”, he characterized it a “charta of aberration”. “Mr. Simitis is trying to play the role of the protector of the ones he has led to this aberration”, noted Mr. Karamanlis.
While inaugurating the stands of the two Greek press agencies, ANA and MPA, Minister of Press Christos Protopapas criticized harshly ND policy.
The Minister of the Press commented both on the polls published and on speech by ND President Costas Karamanlis. He also replied to statements made by ND Press Spokesperson Thodoris Rousopoulos, regarding the Presence of t he Prime Minister at the TIF.
Regarding the polls, which, as he said, record a great acceptance for the social measures announced by the PM, while they underlined a significant lead of Mr. Simitis over Mr. Karamanlis, Mr. Protopapas stressed that ND is disturbed by the measures. “Whi le with these measures Greece is converging with the EU, it is proven that ND is turning away all the more from reality”.
He also referred to the opinion poll conducted by the “Kappa Research” polling company, which was to be published on the Thessaloniki newspaper “Angelioforos” on Sunday. The specific opinion poll records a popularity increase for Mr. Simitis compared to Mr.
Karamanlis based on the responses given to the question who is the fittest for the post of the Prime Minister.
RALLIES FOR JOBS
The issues of de-industrialization, high prices, unemployment and the acceleration of Thessaloniki’s works were raised at a big rally to be organized in Aristotelous square shortly before the Prime Minister’s speech at the TIF. The rally was organized by the Thessaloniki Workers’ Center and Thessaloniki Civil Servants Union, with the participation of the 84 bodies taking part in the meeting organized by Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos.
Protest marches were also carried out by police officers, the fire department and the coast guard in uniform.