Electoral battle begins

The battle for the next elections starts in earnest this week, with the holidays over and with Friday’s opening of Thessaloniki’s annual international trade fair, traditionally the setting for the government’s unveiling of the following year’s economic policy. Prime Minister Costas Simitis, whose PASOK is trying to catch up to New Democracy in the polls, is expected to jump the gun tomorrow and announce a series of benefits for lower-income groups, with some estimates placing the cost at 1.3 billion euros. The government will try to make an impact on social and economic issues, markets and communications in an effort to influence the battle. ND leader Costas Karamanlis, meanwhile, is in Thessaloniki today already, as part of a countrywide campaign in which he stresses that the government lacks credibility.

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