NEWS

Out with the old year, in with the new

The year that just ended was filled with political events and developments that have left their mark on the country’s public life. First came the transition within PASOK, the previous ruling Socialist party, with a prime minister handing over the party leadership to a successor by means of extremely rapid procedures. Then two months later, Costas Karamanlis led the New Democracy party to prevail in the national and, following that, the European Parliament elections. The Olympic Games were held without serious incident, apart from the regrettable doping scandal involving Greek Olympic champions. Meanwhile, the new government’s economic inventory resulted in revelations of the true state of the country’s economy, to the great distress and anger of self-styled reformists in PASOK who for four years had been enthusiastic propagandists of a supposed «strong economy.» The most important developments in foreign affairs included the referendum in Cyprus in which 76 percent of Greek Cypriots rejected a plan by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for the reunification of the island, and the European Union’s decision to give Turkey a starting date for accession talks. The latter involved a political defeat for Greece and the Cypriot government in that Ankara was not obliged at this stage to recognize the Republic of Cyprus. Also unresolved are bilateral Greek-Turkish issues, since exploratory talks between Athens and Ankara on the Aegean during 2004 were not conclusive.