NEWS

PM lays down the law

Costas Karamanlis yesterday laid out the law for his conservative government, appearing committed to emulating his late uncle and namesake, the conservative patriarch who founded the New Democracy party in 1974 and who had kept his ministers on a tight lead. Karamanlis, in the first Cabinet meeting after a swearing-in ceremony at the Presidential Palace, demanded hard work, humility and no ostentation. He announced a merciless campaign against corruption and pledged meritocracy. «Political change means a government that does not discriminate in any way,» Karamanlis said. Regarding honesty, he said: «This applies to us, first of all, to our collaborators, to our families, to those close to us… You cannot be strict with others if you are not first strict with yourself.» He added: «We are nothing but citizens whom our fellow citizens have entrusted with the highest honor of serving them… We are neither permanent here nor eternal nor irreplaceable.» He stressed that his ministers and deputy ministers will be tested every day. «You must act on the basis of true meritocracy and choose honorable and worthy people as your collaborators,» he said. On the economy, Karamanlis said that the aim was to attract new investments in order to create jobs and improve the quality of life for citizens. «The Greeks have entrusted us to solve their everyday problems,» he said. The prime minister called on Cabinet members to go to work early, stressing that there would be no grace period. He advised them to be moderate, to listen to different opinions, to be serious and frank. «This is what they elected us for,» he said. Karamanlis called on Cabinet members to work together, saying they would be judged on their collective achievements. He advised them to be brief in their public comments and to talk about their ministries after the government presents its policies in Parliament. «We do not have commitments or dependancies and this is our great political asset,» Karamanlis said, in a reference to the former government’s apparent coziness with big business and media interests. «I detest every display of pride, arrogance, opulence and ostentation,» he said, stressing that he would not tolerate any such displays. Justice Minister Anastassis Papaligouras took up Karamanlis’s call for transparency with his first official statements. «We want to make the long-suffering Greek system of justice truly independent and unbiased,» he said. «We want to safeguard our judicial culture… ensuring equality before the law and entrenching the rule of law.»