‘We won’t run the state on party lines’

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis sent out a firm message Saturday to one and all that he would not allow the state to be run on partisan lines or permit questioning of the government’s policy decisions. He also warned of an impending, intensive new round of hard work to implement government policy. Speaking to New Democracy’s Central Committee, Karamanlis elaborated on the political philosophy based on a modern social center, emphasizing the need to unite forces in national endeavors. End of discussion «The new government does not implement the failed practices of the past. We will not run the state – which must be fair – on party lines and we will not bring the state into the party,» said Karamanlis, putting an end to the recent discussion raised mainly by party trade unionists who want a greater share of power. The premier spoke of a state that springs no surprises, does not discriminate and is not unjust. He described the party as a channel of communication that also expresses the demands of the public, and which «listens, converses and suggests.» But he made it absolutely clear that there was «no room for questioning of government policy.» The prime minister made an overall evaluation of ND’s performance during its nine months in power, laying emphasis on its guaranteeing transparency in public life and the Greek economy. He described the fiscal audit as a matter of national responsibility and called on those responsible for the problems to become aware of their responsibilities. «New lies are not an eraser for rubbing out the old ones,» said Karamanlis, adding that feigned ignorance had unfavorable consequences for society as a whole. He repeated the government’s commitment to a soft landing in the new circumstances, and referred to a plan to prevent the burden from falling on the Greek public. Karamanlis made extensive reference to the government’s transparency policy, reiterating its determination to categorically oppose the corruption of the past and to make rules that would prevent vested interests from trying to dominate society or policy. The prime minister listed the government’s initiatives on increasing transparency, supporting the poor and enhancing competitiveness, including legislation concerning major media shareholders, the new taxation laws and the development plan. Foreign affairs As for Greek-Turkish relations and Turkey’s EU prospects, the premier repeated that Turkey’s road to Europe depended on its ability to converge with the constitutional, economic and political acquis communautaire, the framework of existing European legislation. Referring to Cyprus, he said Greece wanted a feasible, viable solution based on the Annan plan. As for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the ND leader said that the only problem affecting good relations between Athens and Skopje was the unresolved issue of the neighboring country’s name, which could only be arrived at by substantive dialogue in order to find a mutually agreeable solution. ND Central Committee secretary Evangelos Meimarakis, who continues to oppose his party’s public relations effort, said that the government was «floundering in its attempts to communicate» and that the effectiveness of its work is not immediately perceived by the public. «There cannot be any negligence on his mission,» he said. Later he called on ministers and administrators to make it known when they receive deputies, prefects, mayors and party officials.