Party leaders seeking fresh tactics

The leaders of Greece's two main parties are preparing to use the summer break to come up with ways of rekindling the public's interest in their policies as both New Democracy and PASOK count the cost of the political scandals that have eroded their popularity. Sources said that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is already meeting with close advisers to decide what his strategy should be in September. Karamanlis is faced with two options. The first is to declare a raft of policies that, according to sources, would «shock» the system. A series of bold moves are seen by some as the only way to wrongfoot PASOK and dissenting voices within ND. The second option is for Karamanlis to sit tight until elections for the European Parliament next June. The strategy behind this tactic would be that PASOK would suffer a bigger defeat than ND and that would set off a fresh round of bickering in the Socialist party, giving the ruling conservatives some respite. There was no reaction from Karamanlis to a suggestion by Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis in yesterday's Eleftherotypia that the two main parties could come together to create a coalition if neither of them wins enough votes at the next general election to form a government on their own. On the PASOK front, George Papandreou is also in talks over how to develop a new strategy. Sources say he wants his MPs to take on more responsibility in getting the party's message across and that the focus of their criticism of the government may shift toward its handling of the economy.