Election battle lines drawn
The Karamanlis government has come under sustained attack for its early closure of Parliament’s plenary session two Fridays ago.
The surprise decision by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to declare Parliament in recess continued to provoke reactions.
The summer sessions of Parliament, where it operates at reduced capacity, have commenced almost a month early.
Opposition parties accused Karamanlis of taking the decision so that no new scandals could reach the House before the European parliamentary elections on June 7.
Under Greek law prosecutors can only send case files which involve parliamentarians during a full sitting of Parliament.
“Such scheming does not befit a just state,” said PASOK leader George Papandreou during a meeting of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV). “It creates the impression that those in power have complete immunity for any offense.”
Mr Papandreou stressed that the European parliamentary elections will be a referendum that will send the message to the Karamanlis government and the ND party that the Greeks wish to change a course at a national and European level. The government - and the political system as a whole - came in for criticism from Dimitris Daskalopoulos, SEV’s president, who called for “a political and ethical renewal in our parties and society.”
Costa Karamanlis has adopted a more aggressive stance in his speeches in an apparent bid to appeal to ND’s grassroots support so that a likely defeat on June 7 will not have a large margin.
Mr. Karamanlis attacked George Papandreou and accused him of mud-slinging, disinformation, verbosity and of playing party politics.
In reference to the early closure of Parliament the Karamanlis said: “This government has absolutely nothing to hide; it has nothing to cover up. The government wants to approach the European elections on political terms; it wants a calm political climate.”
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga stated that Parliament’s closure surprised the government itself, adding that the closure serves the writing off of scandals, as all scandals made until 2007 have been written off.
Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) leader Alexis Tsipras accused Costas Karamanlis of “running, panic-stricken, into hiding in order to avoid his responsibilities” while, in reply to press questions, said that Karamanlis was governing without the consensus of the society nor even of those who have voted for him.
A new poll predicted that the PASOK is likely to easily win next month’s Euro election.
The Public Issue survey indicated that PASOK would garner 28 percent of the vote and New Democracy 23.5 with the other three parliamentary parties each collecting 5.5 percent.
Anything more than a 3-4 percent win for PASOK would be considered a damaging blow to the Karamanlis government.
However, a factor that could yet affect the final outcome is the number of voters who say they are still undecided.
According to the poll, 8.5 percent of more than the 1,000 people questioned have not decided who will get their vote. Another 6 percent said they will not vote and 7.5 percent said they will cast blank ballots.
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