Call to end ND infighting

In a bid to stamp his authority on the government, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis used Saturday’s meeting of the New Democracy party’s Central Committee to call for an end to bickering within the party. Reacting to recent criticism, particularly from conservative trade unionists, that ministers had cut themselves off from party members, Karamanlis said he would not allow party politics to affect the way the government was being run – an accusation that New Democracy had repeatedly leveled at PASOK before the March 7 general elections. «We will not run the state along party lines and we will not bring the state into the party. Party factionalism in the state used to be a great wound and we are not about to repeat the same choices that we criticized – choices that damaged our land. The state has a duty to be at the service of every citizen and to be just,» the prime minister said. Karamanlis also rejected the idea that the government should prioritize its policies along party lines. «In 21st century Greece, there are no dividing lines. There are no blue, green or red problems,» he said “There are no children of a lesser god. The state rewards worthiness, hard work and consistency. The government works and cares for all citizens.» Despite Karamanlis’s pleas for party unity, ND secretary Vangelis Meimarakis continued his thinly veiled attacks on the government’s public relations efforts and particularly the work of spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos. Meimarakis said the government’s image was powerful when «we focus on the positive message. When we support the government’s work based on substance and not style. When none of us hesitates to roll up our sleeves and go into the regions and inform Greek citizens in the best possible way.» A poll published in yesterday’s Eleftheros Typos newspaper showed 39.8 percent of those asked would vote for ND and 33.1 percent would choose PASOK. In the March elections, ND polled 45.4 percent of the vote and PASOK 40.5 percent. Meanwhile, Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis declared himself in favor of a left-wing president to replace Costis Stephanopoulos in April. «It is not necessary that they be from the left but that would certainly be the better option,» he told Sunday’s Eleftherotypia newspaper.