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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-09-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 17 September 2007 Issue No: 2699


  • [01] ND, Karamanlis swept back to power; PASOK slumps as smaller parties soar
  • [02] Papandreou to request renewal of his leadership of PASOK's
  • [03] Venizelos says he will be 'present' in PASOK's coming developments
  • [04] KKE leader points to party's improved showing
  • [05] SYRIZA's Alavanos hails election result for party
  • [06] LA.OS leader thanks voters for party's Parliament entry
  • [07] Democratic Revival's Papathemelis congratulates parties entering Parliament
  • [08] Top ministers on election result
  • [09] Congratulations from foreign leaders
  • [10] President: Great day of the sovereign people
  • [11] Caretaker minister praises all for well-held elections
  • [12] Foreign Exchange Rates - Monday
  • [13] Outgoing ambassador to Egypt honoured by Patriarch Theodoros II
  • [14] Forest fire breaks out in Florina
  • [15] Two foreign nationals arrested for people smuggling, 75 illegal immigrants detained
  • [16] Greece loses to Lithuania 78-69 in Eurobasket third-place game Politics

  • [01] ND, Karamanlis swept back to power; PASOK slumps as smaller parties soar

    Ruling New Democracy (ND) party and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis were easily swept back into power in Sunday' s snap election, posting a better than projected and clear victory in the wake of late August' s wildfires in southern Greece, whereas main opposition PASOK party utterly failed to capitalise on whatever voter discontent with the government.

    Speaking in a brief nationally televised address from the Zappeion Hall in downtown Athens after midnight, Karamanlis again used the leitmotif of "reforms", saying the people have provided him and his government with a clear mandate for a "new, more dynamic beginning".

    Karamanlis added that he feels a "double responsibility" for making his government better and avoiding mistakes in the future; one that is more effective and closer to the citizens.

    Less than a month after the devastating wildfires, a re-elected Karamanlis said all of the government's commitments towards the fire-ravaged areas and individuals will be met, while he insisted on adhering to a moderate political climate and avoidance of extremism and divisiveness.

    "I would like to thank you (voters) for your trust. Today, you spoke and spoke clearly and loudly. You chose the path that the country will follow in the coming years You gave a clear mandate to ND to continue with changes and reforms that the country needs; a mandate for a new and dynamic beginning I ask you to vote for stable government. This government now exists, it is the one backed by a social majority with a strong political volition, one accountable to its commitments," he said.

    Additionally, Karamanlis said his government will emphasise efforts to fight poverty and maintain a stable economy.

    With more than two-thirds (84.88 percent) of the vote counted in Greece's general election on Sunday at approximately 2:30 a.m. in the early morning hours on Monday, ruling New Democracy (ND) was leading with 42.64 percent to main opposition PASOK's 38.41 percent. The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) was recorded at 7.73 percent; the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) 4.72 percent and the currently out-of-Parliament Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party 3.60.

    If the current percentages stand, ND will field 154 seats in the next 300-MP Parliament; PASOK will hold 103; 21 for KKE; 13 for SYRIZA and nine for LA.OS.

    [02] Papandreou to request renewal of his leadership of PASOK's

    Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) President George Papandreou announced his intention to ask party members to renew their confidence to his person in order, as he said, to proceed with major changes within the party, hours after PASOK came in a disappointing second to ruling New Democracy (ND).

    Addressing a post-election press conference, Papandreou admitted that the message received from voters in Sunday's general elections was that the "people consider that we also share responsibilities for the situation prevailing in the country."

    He said the election was "unfavorable" for PASOK, which "faces a crucial turning point", adding: "We will evaluate the people's message ... We waged our battle, but we have not managed to win ... we all took part in it, we all had a role to play and responsibilities to share, foremost of all, I myself."

    "The broad democratic and progressive party needs deep reforms and fights for a just society," he said, adding: "We are not all the same and it would be good to prove it through positions, practices, self-criticism and high moral standard."

    [03] Venizelos says he will be 'present' in PASOK's coming developments

    Top main opposition PASOK cadre and former minister Evangelos Venizelos announced that he will be "present" in whatever developments take place in the party, speaking to reporters late Sunday after PASOK's election defeat.

    He also referred to a "courageous" act by PASOK leader George Papandreou -- who spoke earlier in the evening -- to "open procedures" envisioned by PASOK's charter, an indirect reference to either renewing Papandreou's mandate at PASOK's helm or even a leadership change.

    Venizelos, a Thessaloniki-area deputy, said PASOK deserved a better election fate, while he called the Sept. 16 election defeat "painful and great".

    [04] KKE leader points to party's improved showing

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga said her party's supporters "feel satisfaction" over the KKE's performance in Sunday's general election.

    Addressing reporters in the early morning hours of Monday, Papariga said her party was on an upward course, adding that voters who "made a bold step in voting for the first time for KKE were many", while adding that Communists should not be swept away by the result.

    "The two mainstream parties still maintain high percentages, which however, are not in accordance with popular dissatisfaction," she said.

    The KKE leader said her party would be on the workers' side to "prevent ant-popular measures that the government will present," adding that KKE would not disappoint young voters.

    [05] SYRIZA's Alavanos hails election result for party

    Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alekos Alavanos expressed his "great joy" over the party's performance in Sunday's general election in the country, in brief statements in the early morning hours on Monday.

    "The radical left has recorded one of its best performances in its history since the return to democracy in 1974," he said, adding that his party's vote tally was "steadfastly increasing".

    SYRIZA's electoral success "is important because it constitutes an element of a new political landscape, characterised by a strong message for turning towards the forces of the Left, by a particular decrease in the two mainstream parties' forces and by a government which while it conserves majority is nevertheless fragile against a strong social movement," Alavanos said.

    Thanking voters who expressed support for his party, the SYRIZA leader promised to fight against "any anti-social policy emanating from a popular minority government," and to work for a "broad left covering the void that the main opposition party leaves after its adherence to the policies of the establishment."

    [06] LA.OS leader thanks voters for party's Parliament entry

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party leader George Karatzaferis thanked, in the early hours of Monday, voters who propelled his party into Parliament after Sunday's general elections in the country.

    "The ballot box imposed seriousness and not arrogance," Karatzaferis said in a brief statement to reporters adding that he would "stand by the side" of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis "in whatever positive" and against "in whatever grey".

    "Our role is to keep Greece for Greeks," the LA.OS president said.

    [07] Democratic Revival's Papathemelis congratulates parties entering Parliament

    Democratic Revival leader Stelios Papathemelis on Sunday night congratulated all the parties that secured their entry into parliament -- statements made with 20 percent of the vote counted -- while expressing his "displeasure" over his newly founded party's failure surpass the 3-percent ceilined need for representation in Parliament.

    "We are essentially a party of the last three months. We have struggled for three months, while we had been declared non-existent during the first two months. We somehow came to the surface during the last month and managed to demonstrate to the people that we are serious candidates with clear positions. We congratulate all those who have entered Parliament and we hope they perform," Papathemelis told reporters.

    [08] Top ministers on election result

    Several New Democracy (ND) ministers commented late Sunday night on their party's victory in the same-day Sept. 16 election, with the catchphrase being "a continuation of reforms" with heightened determination.

    Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos pledged that "as of tomorrow, we begin in a stronger and more optimistic spirit to change the country," whereas Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou noted that "if reforms in the sector of education do not advance, this will be against the people's interests."

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas referred to what he called a "firm expression of confidence by the citizens to ND and (prime minister) Costas Karamanlis," underlining that the government will proceed with reforms "with increased determination."

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said the election result "rewards the government's work", giving it at the same time "strength to continue with its reform programme."

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis underlined the need for reforms to proceed faster and spoke of "a time of responsibility".

    [09] Congratulations from foreign leaders

    The first congratulations from foreign leaders for ruling New Democracy and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' election victory on Sunday came in the evening, with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha and European People's Party (EPP) president Wilfried Martens speaking with Karamanlis by phone.

    [10] President: Great day of the sovereign people

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias said Sunday that election day was "the great day of the sovereign people", adding that "we await their decision", speaking to reporters after voting at the 148th polling station in Ioannina.

    Papoulias was due to return to Athens on Sunday afternoon for the count of the votes from Sunday's general elections.

    [11] Caretaker minister praises all for well-held elections

    Caretaker Interior Minister Spiros Flogaitis praised the Greek people on Sunday evening for holding elections with maturity and thanked the staff at the interior ministry for their tireless work in order to ensure that the election process went smoothly.

    Flogaitis also appealed to the electorate to display the same maturity and calm as the election results were announced.

    The minister said that the results coming in from voting precincts throughout Greece would be released in the order that they arrived at the ministry and noted that it would take some time before conclusions regarding the election result could be drawn with any degree of certainty. According to Flogaitis, a picture of the final result will begin to emerge at around 10:30 or 11:00 on Sunday night but firm conclusions would only be possible when the results were representative.

    Financial News

    [12] Foreign Exchange Rates - Monday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.397

    Pound sterling 0.694

    Danish kroner 7.508

    Swedish kroner 9.347

    Japanese yen 160.47

    Swiss franc 1.659

    Norwegian kroner 7.890

    Cyprus pound 0.588

    Canadian dollar 1.44

    Australian dollar 1.663

    General News

    [13] Outgoing ambassador to Egypt honoured by Patriarch Theodoros II

    CAIRO (ANA-MPA - N. Katsikas)

    Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa on Sunday received outgoing Greek Ambassador to Egypt Panagiotis Vlassopoulos and presented him with the Grand Cross of the order of Saint Mark, the highest distinction awarded by the Orthodox Church of Alexandria for service to the Church.

    In a ceremony attended by Cyprus Ambassador to Egypt Petros Efthychiou, the ambassador of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the General Consul of Alexandria George Diakofotakis, the president of Alexandria's Greek community Haralambos Katsimbris and other dignitaries from the Greek-Egyptian and Arab Orthodox communities, Patriarch Theodoros outlined the very important contribution made by the ambassador to the Church and the Greek-Egyptian community during his four years in Cairo.

    Among these he listed the assistance given by the ambassador for his own election as Patriarch, for the inauguration of Patriarchal mansions in Cairo and Alexandria and the foundation and operation of the Patriarchate's school and other issues.

    [14] Forest fire breaks out in Florina

    A fire broke out Saturday evening in a forest expanse in Kolchiki, Perasma municipality in Florina prefecture.

    A strong firefighting team was battling the blaze, with efforts hampered by the difficult terrain as well as high winds in the area.

    A team of 11 firemen with four fire engines, assisted by a 7-strong team on foot, two PZL planes and a firefighting helicopter were tackling the fire.

    [15] Two foreign nationals arrested for people smuggling, 75 illegal immigrants detained

    Two Turkish nationals, aged 29 and 27, were arrested on Saturday morning by the Coastguard on the island of Samos, after they were spotted disembarking at least 75 illegal immigrants of various nationalities from their speedboat southeast of the Nissi region.

    By noon, local Coastguard and security police officers had detained 75 people along the road leading from Nissi to the city of Samos.

    The detainees were taken to the Samos Prefectural Hospital for precautionary medical examinations, while the two people traffickers were taken before a public prosecutor.


    [16] Greece loses to Lithuania 78-69 in Eurobasket third-place game


    The Greek national basketball team lost to Lithuania 78-69 in a 2007 Eurobasket match played in Spain on Sunday night and came fourth in the tournament.

    The team will be playing in a pre-Olympic tournament next year to qualify for the Beijing Olympic Games.

    Lithuania finished third, won the bronze medal and qualified directly for the Olympic Games.

    The 10-minute intervals had the following results: 19-20, 34-41, 54-62 and 69-78.

    In later remarks, Deputy Culture Minister for Sport George Orfanos stressed that "the continuous presence of the Greek team over the past three years amongst the leading powers of basketball, forebodes new successes and emotions for all Greek fans. The state supports the future and prospects of Greek basketball."

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: GEORGE TAMBAKOPOULOS

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