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Samaras sets out ND's political and social reforms

New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras has set out his party’s proposal for political and social reforms ahead of the May 6 elections, including repealing Greece’s citizenship law, clamping down on petty crime and reducing the number of MPs.

“Greece is a country, it is not just an area and the Greeks are a people not just a population,” said Samaras as he called for a “new social contract” between the government and voters.

The ND leader attacked the left for what he called “ideological terrorism” in the past and said that the conservatives had begun to break down some taboos, such as changing the immunity law that prevented police entering university grounds.

Samaras also advocated a tougher line on illegal immigration -- which he labelled an “unarmed invasion” -- crime and rioting. He said he would “take down rioters’ hoods” and advocated a major clampdown on petty crime, including drugs use, by allowing police to use CCTV cameras and water cannons.

He also said New Democracy would repeal the citizenship law passed by the PASOK government in 2010, which allows 2nd generation immigrants to apply to become Greek citizens. Samaras argued that the legislation had made Greece a “magnet” for illegal immigrants.

He also pledged to push the European Union to change the Dublin II regulation forcing asylum seekers to be returned to Greece for processing if it was their point of entry to the EU. “Greece has become a warehouse for all the undesirables,” Samaras told a crowd of party members at the Zappeio Hall in Athens.

Samaras called for a constitutional review and placed great emphasis on political reforms, such as reducing the number of MPs from the current 300. He said he would reduce the number of ministries to 10 and would force ministers to quit their jobs as MPs when they join the Cabinet. The ND leader added that he wanted to remove MPs immunity from prosecution.

In his speech –- the second at Zappeio in just four days -– Samaras also stressed the role of education, the Church and Greece’s armed forces.

He suggested that the previous PASOK government had ignored the armed forces and that it was vital Greeks showed their respect. “We have to honor our armed forces,” he said. “There is no homeland without patriotism. There is no patriotism without pride.”

ekathimerini.com , Thursday April 26, 2012 (10:45)  
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