Athens.- New Democracy and PASOK turned their fire on each other, trying to convince the undecided voters ahead of the October 4 general election. Greek Law prohibits the publication of polls, after September 18, although according to polls published in blogs PASOK retains an advantage of 5%. A Greek prosecutor sued on Friday 3 blogers.
“PASOK has no policy program; they are not trustworthy; all they have is propaganda,” said ND campaign spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos. “They do not know how to get the country out of the dire straits caused by the global economic crisis.”
PASOK spokesman Giorgos Papaconstantinou responded in kind. “The only threat to our country is the lack of action and the wrong policies of this government,” he said.
Both Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and PASOK leader George Papandreou are expected to repeat similar messages on the campaign trail. Karamanlis spoke in Kozani pn Friday and in Patra on Saturday, while yesterday he went to Iraklio, Crete.
Addressing an event held to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the assassination of Pavlos Bakogiannis, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis was harsh when touching on terrorism. The future of those involved in terrorism has already been designed and they will be arrested, stressed Karamanlis, further adding that there will be zero tolerance to the use of violence and crime.
“Twenty years ago, some believed that, by assassinating Pavlos Bakogiannis, they would deliver a strike to national reconciliation. They believed that the bullets would silence ideas. They failed,” said the Prime Minister, underlining that Pavlos Bakogiannis’ sacrifice is strengthening our struggle against any use of violence and terrorism.
“There will be zero tolerance to crime and to the enemies of democracy,” said he, also stressing, “The future of those involved in terrorism has been designed. They will be arrested. They won’t get away with it.”
He underlined that Pavlos Bakogiannis’ sacrifice proved that democracy is not affected by such strikes and praised the victims’ role in the national reconciliation, arguing, “The divisions that puzzled our country are a past part of our history.”
Wrapping up the speech, Kostas Karamanlis addressed Pavlos Bakogiannis’ children, telling them that they should be proud of their father’s legacy, which they ought to keep alive.
Former House Speaker Dimitris Sioufas also addressed the event.
“Pavlos Bakogiannis honoured life itself with his work,” stressed Sioufas, also adding that Bakogiannis proved that if one wishes to offer to the country there is always an outlet.
Concluding, he reiterated Pavlos Bakogiannis’ words, whereby “There are no deadlocks in democracy,” and said that the Greek House will honour him in the days to come.
Prime Minister and New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis addressed an election campaign rally in Kozani, western Macedonia, on Friday evening calling on voters to “question all those who doubt your intelligence, reject all those that are negating the truth” and added that the main opposition PASOK party “conceals its real intentions and fears that it might displease the citizens.”
The ruling ND party, he said, “tells the truth to the people and has a plan with which it can lead the country to a better tomorrow.’
The prime minister strongly criticised PASOK leader George Papandreou on the latter’s position on national issues saying that, as foreign minister in the years 1999-2004, he (Papandreou) had declared that in exploratory talks with neighbouring Turkey the issue of grey zones would not be discussed while the then prime minister said that the issue was finally included in these talks.
“I question nobody’s patriotism but they cannot question our’s,” the prime minister noted.
Regarding the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline project, Karamanlis termed Papandreou’s declarations on the issue as “curious insinuations” and wondered whether “the conceal” something.
Referring to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s (FYROM) ‘name issue’, premier Karamanlis said “we put clear red lines and we do not backtrack. We proved that in Bucharest, we showed boldness and credibility which cannot be questioned by anybody.”
On the economy, Karamanlis charged that “PASOK’s pleasant words will bring about an unbearable cost,” saying that the main opposition party “is contradicting itself, does not tell the truth, conceals its real intentions and the only thing it is interested in is how not to be unpleasent to citizens.”
Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou on Saturday toured the western Attica industrial district of Elefsina, charging that the government, despite its promises, abandoned the area.
“A strong government is needed to further build on the achievements of local authorities, who have turned Elefsina into a champion of recycling,” he said.
Papandreou also visited the Archaeological Museum of Elefsina and was briefed on the adjacent archaeological site.
Earlier, the PASOK leader toured the working-class west Athens district of Menidi.
“We will not offer benefits for the few, we will guarantee rights for everyone, we will battle against difficulties and the status that do not want our country to succeed,” he told local supporters.
Friday night George Papandreou addressed an election campaign rally in Iraklio, calling on all Greek voters that “want the country to change course” to vote for his party.
Papandreou said “gallops do not win elections” adding “the battle must be waged by all until the last minute.”
“It is time to leave behind, once and and for all, all that has led the country to decay, corruption, fear and to margin. It is time to put the country on the track of progress, justice and growth,” the PASOK leader said.
Papandreou promised to “make the first step in this course” by assuming the task of “fighting against all those established interests that put obstacles to the new course of the country, whatever the cost might be.”
“I commit myself to be at the front of this great effort and hand over to our children a better Greece than the one we inherited,” he emphasised.
The main opposition leader asked for “a vote of confidence and a strong mandate for absolute parliamentary majority, in order to fully implement the PASOK programme which guarantees the country’s new course.”
Referring to the first 100 days of his government, if his party wins the elections, Papandreou conceded that Grrece “will not change in 100 days but what the PASOK programme can do is give the country the time it needs to react, to take a breath, to exit from the intensive care unit, in order to be able to make the next step.”
“An indispensable condition for this step,” he added, “is the establishment of a well-governed state which will stand by the side of citizens.”
In an interview published by the mass Italian daily “La Repubblica”, George Papandreou underlined the formula for economic recovery is fairer taxation, greater salaries and pensions, as well as effective measures against tax evasion.
“Spending figures will be made public and attention will focus on ‘green’ economy for the creation of new job positions”, he added.
When asked what socialism means for him, Papandreou responded that it is all about “giving more power to the people and keeping them informed, thus helping them make decisions. It also means social justice and a new relation with the environment.”
Papandreou added that PASOK is one of the few Socialist parties that won in the recent Euro-elections and stressed that “only those who know how to democratise and make globalisation fairer are winning.”
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga spoke at a campaign rally in the south Athens district of Kallithea on Saturday, where she again roundly criticised all rival parties.
Papariga was particularly critical of the rival leftist alliance SYRIZA as well as the neophyte Ecologists-Greens, saying both small parties are “liars, because they are speaking of 100,000 new job positions that will be created from renewable natural resources, when it is known that industrialists invest where less job positions are in need”.
The KKE leader called for working classes to vote for KKE and against self-sufficient governments.
Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) President Alexis Tsipras outlined his party’s policy for SMEs during his visit to the northwestern city of Ioannina on Friday.
The leftist party’s proposals include “substantive and considerable” state-guaranteed financing of small and medium size businesses without unjustified delays, greater state control of the domestic banking system through a renationalised National Bank and what he called a special purpose bank established for SMEs to support the real economy.
On Friday night, Tsipras addressed supporters in an outdoor rally in Ioannina.
Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) leader George Karatzaferis on Saturday visited the southern Peloponnese town of Sparta on a campaign swing, where he sternly critisiced the government and the main opposition PASOK.
“Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis betrayed people’s mandate and my role is to frustrate main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou from becoming prime minister … The two mainstream parties have many things in common”.
On the prevailing situation in economy, he noted that markets are suffocating and characterised as unbelievable the prime minister’s proposals for strict measures in the economy over the next two years. Referring to Papandreou, he said the latter is not clear about his plans.
Asked about possible post-election cooperation between LA.OS and PASOK if a self-sufficient government is not elected, Karatzaferis said: “I believe that Karamanlis will not leave Papandreou without support, without government. We are the ones that will exercise opposition to PASOK”.
Public Power Corporation (PPC) chairman Takis Athanassopoulos and a team of top PPC executives on Friday met a delegation from the Ecologists-Greens party led by the head of the EcoGreens election campaign Nikos Chrysogelos. The meeting focused on the PPC’s role in the context of a new energy policy for Greece.
Accompanying Chrysogelos were the party officials responsible for climate, energy and transport policy, Tassos Krommydas and Constantinos Katopis.
PPC’s management presented the company’s strategic plan and outlined activities to restore the soil around lignite mines and hydroelectric power stations.
EcoGreens officials, on their part, stressed the absolute necessity of a shift to using ‘green’ energy in order to avoid large-scale environmental and economic repercussions. They expressed satisfaction with the detailed briefing given them by the power utility and the fact that environmental parameters had been included in the company’s planning.
After the meeting, Chrysogelos stated that Greece needed a comprehensive strategy for energy that extended until 2030-50 and would incorporate strategies to protect the climate.