NEWS

Campaigning peaks

A week before the national elections that will result in one of them becoming the prime minister, PASOK Chairman George Papandreou and New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis kept up their intensive campaigning yesterday, traded barbs and promised a different kind of government after the elections. In a Kathimerini interview yesterday, Karamanlis stressed that only his party can bring about change. «PASOK has had a change of leadership, but has not managed to change the political landscape. That is because it is clear to everyone that PASOK has exhausted its possibilities. It will need some time in opposition before it can criticize the mistakes and omissions of its term in office, to review policies, to formulate proposals and come before the Greek people with a truly new face,» he said. ND was last in power in 1990-93 and Karamanlis, 47, suggested that few of that administration’s members would be in his Cabinet. «The core of the next government, that of New Democracy, will comprise people of my generation. I think it is time to take a major, qualitative leap forward. I am convinced that now is the time for people who have not experienced the difficult times of division and violent conflict to take the country’s destiny in their hands,» he said. Speaking in Piraeus yesterday, to members of the national union of local governments, Papandreou took the opportunity to criticize ND for its opposition to the PASOK government’s decentralization efforts. «The Right was always afraid of this decentralization, because it is afraid of the power of the citizen, because this power means that… they cannot take decisions against the interests of the Greek citizen,» he said. Separately, in an interview with To Vima, Papandreou charged that ND’s «proposal is deeply conservative and stuck in the past. In opposition, its policy was phobic, introverted, defensive and absolute.» Conversely, he added, «PASOK has repeatedly won the people’s confidence because, despite delays, defects and problems, it has changed Greece and citizens’ lives.» He promised higher wages and pensions, a guaranteed income for farmers and new legislation upgrading the education and health systems. «The model of government I propose is based on open dialogue and participation… and in seeking consensus,» Papandreou said.