Greek government officials rebuffed reports that Greek Prime Minister, Costas Karamanlis, is ‘tired’ and ready to abandon the world of politics if he is defeated at the next elections due in 2010.
The claims were contained in the Greek newspaper Real News following a meeting between the Greek Prime Minister and Nikos Hatzinikolaou, publisher of the newspaper.
Party officials rallied behind Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and extolled his virtues.
“The prime minister is too young to be considering retirement,” said government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros. Antonaras spoke of “fanciful scenarios” but did not deny that a meeting had taken place between the premier and the publisher of Real News, in which the report appeared.
The report cites Karamanlis as saying: “I have been president of New Democracy for more than 12 years.”
“I am tired. I will work hard until the elections, put all my energy into the fight to tackle the financial crisis, but if despite all this we lose the elections, I will go” he added.
Leading Ne Democracy figures believed to be the likeliest contenders for Karamanlis’s post, threw their full support behind the Greek Prime Minister.
“Costas Karamanlis is the guarantor of the unity of this great party,” said Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos.
“I have never heard the premier declare that he is tired and wants to step down,” said conservative deputy Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
“The prime minister is present, active and striving for the good of our country,” Deputy Education Minister Andreas Lykourentzos commented.
Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou seized the chance to capitalize on the latest crisis within the ruling party, remarking in a speech before his party’s political council that “whoever is tired should go home.”