NEWS

Karamanlis names Cabinet today

Costas Karamanlis, president of the conservative New Democracy party, is to name the members of his Cabinet at 10 a.m. today, after being appointed prime minister by President Costis Stephanopoulos yesterday. The Cabinet will be sworn in tomorrow. New Democracy swept to victory in elections on Sunday, returning to power after nearly 11 years in opposition. With 99.72 percent of votes counted, the conservatives got 45.37 percent and 165 seats in the 300-seat Parliament. George Papandreou’s Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) won 40.55 percent and 117 seats, followed by the Communist Party with 5.89 percent and 12 seats and the Synaspismos Left Coalition with 3.26 percent and six seats. Below the 3 percent threshold for parliamentary seats were extreme-right LAOS (2.19 percent) and the Democratic Social Movement (DIKKI) with 1.79 percent. In 2000, PASOK beat ND by 1.1 percent. The Socialists have ruled for all but three years since 1981. «I want to stress to all citizens who honored us with their trust, our responsibility is very great. We owe it to them to meet their expectations,» Karamanlis said as he left the Presidential Palace. «We are starting work immediately and looking forward to it.» Among those who sent congratulations to Karamanlis yesterday were Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and French President Jacques Chirac. Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos congratulated Karamanlis on Sunday. The US State Department spokesman congratulated the Greek leader yesterday, noting this was a critical time for the Cyprus problem and for security planning for the Olympics. Karamanlis spent most of yesterday thinking about whom to name to Cabinet posts and by late last night had not telephoned any possible members. He was expected to do so shortly before naming the Cabinet this morning. Veteran diplomat Petros Molyviatis, however, was considered a certainty for foreign minister and there were rumors that Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, who heads the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee, could be named minister for the Olympics. The new Parliament will have 122 members who were not in the previous one, with 90 making their debut. Two PASOK ministers (Agriculture Minister Giorgos Drys and Aegean Minister Nikos Sifounakis) were not elected, nor were 10 deputy ministers. Among the surprises for New Democracy was that the leader’s uncle, veteran minister Achilleas Karamanlis, was not returned to Parliament.