PASOK leader George Papandreou was quick to concede defeat, gracious in his congratulating of New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis and adamant in his determination to defend the achievements of PASOK while renewing the party radically. «New Democracy won the elections. I wish Mr Karamanlis success in his task for the good of all Greece,» Papandreou told journalists at Zappeion Mansion at 9.20 p.m. when it became clear ND’s lead was irreversible. Papandreou pledged to support efforts to solve the Cyprus problem and to prepare for the Athens Olympics. «The Games are a great moment for our country, a moment that will be stamped indelibly in the conscience of all the world’s people,» he said. «We will continue to support the country’s developmental course, the stable economy, as we have done in past years. At the same time, we will be opposed to any attempt to scrap the social gains of the Greek people – any effort to break down the social state,» Papandreou said. «I commit myself to those who honored me with their vote and to all the country’s citizens that we will carry out a policy of quality, without compromise, to keep checks on the government and to be a source of ideas and political proposals,» he said. «For me the electoral result is a new beginning. We will change and we will change Greece. This is what the new era demands.» Although PASOK officials were surprised by the magnitude of their defeat, this was not expected to affect Papandreou’s leadership, as he was elected to succeed Prime Minister Costas Simitis exactly a month ago today.