NEWS

ND vows to open up Greece to business if it wins elections

Costas Karamanlis said yesterday that Greece would again be open to the world for business if he wins Sunday’s election. Vowing a change of the guard after 11 years of Socialist rule, the New Democracy leader also promised that preparations for the Olympics would not miss a beat by his coming to power. In an interview with Reuters, Karamanlis said a conservative government would make «many changes in domestic policy, particularly on the economy.» «So the world will see a country in Europe that will follow a policy directed at attracting foreign investment and privatizing big public enterprises,» Karamanlis said. «A country with a more friendly business environment. You may call it a changing of the guard or a changing of generation,» he said. «A turning of the page.» Karamanlis said voters’ desire for «change» after seeing the Socialists win the last three general elections would be the decisive factor. «Any party long in power breeds arrogance, breeds favoritism and eventually breeds corruption,» he said. Karamanlis, the nephew of a former prime minister, also said Greeks wanted to end their history of violent political divisions which have included a civil war and military rule. «Greece and Greeks want to leave behind the big divisions, the big fights, the big tensions and focus on the real things,» he said. Karamanlis said that while the election pits his own political dynasty against the dynasty of Socialist party leader George Papandreou, the son and grandson of former prime ministers, voters would make up their minds on issues like high unemployment and quality of life. «To be very frank, I don’t think our names are important,» Karamanlis said. «It is simply a coincidence.» He did not foresee ND taking Greece down new foreign policy roads. «I think that foreign policy is not a field of strong party clashes anymore,» he said. He also played down fears that a change of government would hurt Olympic preparations. Asked if he would call a meeting the day after the election if he won to review preparations, he said: «There is no time for that. We think there have been serious delays, omissions and mistakes but the time is up for criticism. «Our responsibility the day after we take power is to make sure we guarantee that the preparation goes on as it’s been programmed and we reach D-Day – Day 1 of the Games – and stage the best possible Olympics.»