‘Simitis is admitting the failure of PASOK’s policies’

New Democracy Party President Costas Karamanlis made the following statement in response: A cycle has just been completed. The last communication game has been played out. A performance devoid of real content, just as the previous ones were for the (Convergence) Charter and the (social welfare) packages. Today’s development is the direct result of the people’s dissatisfaction, their despair, the dead ends produced in society by the governing party’s policies. Dead ends that our party has indicated systematically and via hard work. Society is now turning to our party to demand a better future, with prosperity and justice, a new policy, a new way of governing. By announcing his departure, Simitis himself is admitting the failure of PASOK’s policies. He has decided not to stand before the Greek people and ask them to judge his policies. He refuses to answer for the problems that have accumulated under his government. He is thereby depriving the Greek people of the opportunity to judge him, but he is not depriving them of the chance to judge the results of the PASOK government’s policies, to judge the life and times of the power system, the establishment which they created together, which they maintain and wish to continue. We have repeatedly asked for elections in the national interest. And finally, elections have been scheduled. PASOK’s internal procedures are its own business and no one else’s. The elections, however, will judge policies and apportion responsibilities, collective responsibilities, and evaluate performances. Elections are coming. Credibility, reliability and consistency will be judged by every single citizen. The real dilemma in the elections is whether we are to go forward: if we go forward with a new policy, a new group of people, a new government, or whether we will stay with the same ones, the same failed policies, jaded personalities, the mentality of the arrogance of power, the same negative results in the lives of the people. Greek men and women are demanding a new policy. On the day after the elections, the enactment of our program will open a new chapter for the country. It will lead to a new dynamic and a just society. And it will give its citizens assurances about their personal futures and our collective course. With the same directness with which we have for some time been pointing out the major issues in our country, we now reiterate our commitment for a new, honorable government. We state here today that we are ready to assume the responsibility of governing during the extremely difficult period in which our society finds itself, for the unemployed, those with low incomes and pensions, farmers, and small and medium-sized business owners. I am fully aware of our duty. I hear citizens’ demands for: – no more wasted public money; – no more accumulation of wealth by the few at the expense of opportunities for the many; – no more stock market crimes; – no more arrogance of power; – no more deception of the less advantaged, pensioners and workers; – no more marginalization of small and medium-sized business owners; – and no more marginalization of farmers. We want Greek men and women to feel that they have a part in the prosperity and distribution of wealth produced by themselves and the country, that the State, for which the citizens pay, is at their service and not vice versa. We want the citizens to feel sure that when in need, upon arrival at the hospital, they will be treated with dignity, that they will have quality care from health services worthy of a developed, rich country. We want every family, every economically active person, business owners, the self-employed, to feel that the government that represents them monitors economic and control mechanisms consistently, strictly and honestly. We want our children to have the education they deserve, to acquire the means to participate in the advanced culture of the new age and the educational capital that will open horizons in the new economy. We want young people to be free of the threat of unemployment, to be ambitious and to stay in their country to find work and a future. We want strong citizens, a strong society of citizens. A society of cohesion, participation, confidence and justice. We want Greek men and women to feel once again proud to be citizens of this country. It is this policy that we commit ourselves to putting into practice, safely, steadily, in a new government. This is the honor pact undertaken by tomorrow’s New Democracy government with the society of citizens.

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