Nea Democratia ahead in the polls
The great gap in popularity, revealed by numerous opinion polls, between Nea Democratia (New Democracy), the main conservative party of Greece, and the ruling (always in accordance with Gidden's "third way") Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), revealed by numerous opinion polls, cannot be contested by anybody. However, members of Nea Democratia are circumspect regarding these surveys. Before last year's elections (April 2000), surveys were also suggesting that Nea Democratia would form the future government; however, the will of the people has given PASOK another electoral victory.
This time around, polls indicate that Nea Democratia is leading PASOK by at least eight to ten percent, a result recognized by all the major polling companies operating in Greece such as MRB, ALKO or VPRC. For members of Nea Democratia, now is the time to take advantage of these surveys and use them as a diplomatic tool in order to put pressure on the government.
The main source of PASOK's fear and anxiety is that, although people used to believe that Constantinos Simitis was more qualified for the role of Prime Minister than Costas Caramanlis, the situation has now been reversed.
This change is expected to worsen the situation inside PASOK and to further strengthen the belief that it would be far more difficult, if not impossible, for PASOK to achieve an electoral victory in the next elections. Still, this is by no means certain, since public opinion may well change its mind in the future as it did in the past.
Gligorov makes controversial claim
The ex-President of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kiro Gligorov, has presented his book of memoirs, dubbed Macedonia Is All We Have, in Athens this week. In his speech, he insisted that members of the Greek Secret Services had approached members of the Secret Services of the FYROM and asked them to inform him that the Greek government was willing to offer him one million dollars directly deposited in any bank of his choice in the world. In return, Gligorov would have had to change his opinion regarding the name of the FYROM. Naturally, he refuted this proposition.
Gligorov's statement prompted Constantine Mitsotakis, Greek Prime Minister at the time and member of Nea Democratia, to accuse him of lying. According to the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Michalis Papakonstantinou, Greece had managed to persuade the FYROM to alter its constitution, its national emblems and its flag but not its name. Furthermore, he also argued that Gligorov had been unapproachable during the negotiation period in question. Therefore, no direct contact between him and any of the members of the Greek government or Secret Services had been possible.
Law on terrorism still an issue
The Minister of Justice, Michalis Stathopoulos, has spoken against all of those who are intentionally spreading panic among the Greek public regarding the Bill on Terrorism. According to him, such laws, and even stricter bills than the one in question, exist in other developed European and American countries as well. However, he had admitted that it is possible for a mismanagement of the bill to take place.
He has also argued in favor of DNA testing in cases involving terrorism and has asked those against it to look at the respective legislation of the Council of Europe and of the European Constitutional Court, who decided that DNA testing is not a violation of human rights.
In his own words, "…social responsibility is urging us to limit, confine our personal freedom, when great values of society are at stake."
Greece rejects British proposal
On Monday 11 June, during a meeting of the 15 European Union Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Luxembourg, the chairman, Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, brought forward the British proposal regarding Turkey's accession in the European army. More specifically, Britain proposed that Turkey should be given the right to blockade the actions of the Euroarmy in areas of high interest to it, namely the Aegean Sea, Cyprus, Iran and Iraq.
Greece has instantly rejected the British proposal, seen by many as an US initiative. According to the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, Giorgios A. Papandreou, Greece is willing to find a solution to Turkey's problem. However, this solution should be in accordance with the conclusions of the Nice Summit, which specifically allow only EU member states to decide and vote on EU aspects. Nevertheless, the Greek opinion was supported only by Portugal, although Greek officials were expecting the support of states such as France, Belgium or Luxembourg.
Pangalos and PASOK: enemies?
Member of PASOK and former Minister Theodoros Pangalos has attacked his critics within PASOK by arguing against those whom he perceives as acting like they are PASOKS's elite. His reaction had been expected by many, as he was blamed numerous times in the past for playing the role of the opposition within his own party.
Konstantinos Louridas, 15 June 2001
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