PASOK fights ND for the center

PASOK, the main opposition party, fought back to regain the precious political center after Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday intensified his claim that his conservative New Democracy party is «in the social center» and represents «the truly progressive faction.» During his party’s congress last weekend, Karamanlis made his clearest declaration that New Democracy held the political center. Yesterday, the newly elected Central Committee met to elect a secretary-general and the members of the Political Council and Karamanlis made the same declarations. Incumbent Evangelos Meimarakis was elected unopposed as secretary-general, with only three blank ballots and 21 spoiled ones among the 502 cast. There was no vote for the seven elected Parliament members of the Political Council as there were only seven candidates: Marietta Giannakou, Fanni Palli-Petralia, Giorgos Voulgarakis, Nikitas Kaklamanis, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Dimitris Sioufas and Vyron Polydoras were chosen by acclaim. The seven non-members of Parliament elected were Dora Bakoyannis, D. Tsigounis, K. Koustoulas, D. Kontos, C. Maniatis, A. Moschonoas and Fay Patrianakou. PASOK, which is watching New Democracy reap the benefits of Olympic preparations that it inherited after winning the March elections, fought back yesterday, trying to present New Democracy as a right-wing party with a right-wing past. «It would be good to see that ND now, after a delay of decades, is adopting the principles of the democratic, progressive faction that it has always rejected,» the Socialists said in a statement. But, PASOK added, «ND’s policies and government practices already show the classic right-wing attributes that make it an authentic expression of conservatism and backwardness.»