NEWS

PM advises Greeks to choose right path at elections

Crucial polls to take place on May 6

Outgoing Prime Minister Lucas Papademos advised Greeks Wednesday to invest in ?building, not taking apart? when they go to the ballot box on May 6 as he confirmed the date of one of the upcoming elections.

Papademos gave a televised address Wednesday night after talks with President Karolos Papoulias. His speech was delivered as the latest Public Issue poll for Skai TV and Kathimerini indicated that the political landscape is fragmented.

The survey suggested that as many as nine parties would make it into Parliament, compared to the five that won seats at the last elections in 2009. It also indicated that 52 percent of Greeks favor some kind of coalition government but that there is no great backing for a unity administration made up of PASOK and New Democracy.

ND saw its support slip to just 19 percent, while PASOK garnered 14.5 percent. These levels of support would not be enough for Greece?s two main parties to form a coalition government with a parliamentary majority.

The poll underlined that many voters are expressing the intent of voicing their displeasure with the political establishment and the deteriorating economic situation at the upcoming elections. With this in mind, Papademos adopted a conciliatory tone in his address, warning that voters should ?choose the path that would secure the country?s place in the eurozone and the European Union.?

?Greece is in the middle of a difficult path,? he said in the prerecorded speech. ?The choices we make will not only determine which government will be formed after the election but Greece?s course in decades to come.

?The last months proved that faced with great problems and huge risks we can cooperate and overcome our differences,? he added.

Speaking to his ministers earlier, Papademos stressed that his interim government?s work was not done. The Cabinet is due to meet two or three more times before the elections as several outstanding issues, including the recapitalization of Greek banks, still have to be settled.

The premier also reminded his ministers that the election campaign, albeit kept to the minimum 25 days permitted by the constitution, should not lead to the unraveling of the government over the next few weeks. ?We have a duty to hand over a fully functional state to the government that arises from the elections,? he said.

The announcement of the election date prompted New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras to issue a statement in which he attacked his PASOK rival Evangelos Venizelos. ?Some people will try to convince you that whatever happened was for your own good,? he said. ?Do not believe them. We had problems but we ended up here because of the unbelievable mistakes, the populism and the irresponsibility of the government of [George] Papandreou, with whom Mr Venizelos identified totally.?

Venizelos presided over the drafting of his party?s candidate list, which will include Alternate Defense Minister Yiannis Ragousis, with whom the PASOK leader clashed this week. George Papandreou will stand for election in Achaia, the Peloponnese.

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