Karamanlis turns up the heat on PASOK

Keeping up the heated exchanges of the past few weeks between the main opposition party and the government, New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis launched a withering attack on the PASOK government yesterday, claiming that his conservatives would be the ones to confront «corruption» and «unaccountability.» «This government was born old and it drags itself along wearily, unable to take decisions,» the opposition leader told a gathering of his party’s youth wing in the northern town of Kilkis. «Since the elections (in April 2000), the government has been unable to get anything done,» he charged. Karamanlis also attacked Prime Minister Costas Simitis personally. «The prime minister himself, seeing that he cannot govern, cultivates artificial tension on purpose. He is the chief actor in the effort to distract public opinion away from the dead ends which his policies have created, the explosion in cases of corruption and the judicial charges laid against the entangled interests» of business and politics, Karamanlis said. «He shows he is afraid. He feels that he has lost control of the party and the government, he appears ready and determined to fire up the political climate and to keep his grip on power, even if for a brief time.» Karamanlis said he expected to be the target of calumny, adding: «We reply that we will tackle corruption, the unaccountability and arrogance of power, head on.» Government spokesman Christos Protopappas replied in kind. «Mr Karamanlis has returned, with his well-known arrogant and autocratic style, to his tactic of making grand but empty declarations, of insults, of (causing) tension and division. In his nihilistic approach to everything, he proves, unfortunately, once again, that he is not interested in being useful to the country,» Protopappas charged.

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