Papandreou makes reforms pledge

If PASOK wins the next election, it will reform Greece’s social security and education systems, create a separate Environment Ministry, change taxation rates, develop a budget aimed at society’s poorest and introduce a law on transparency, the party’s leader George Papandreou told Sunday’s Kathimerini. Papandreou also ruled out the possibility of entering into a coalition with New Democracy if there is a hung parliament after the elections, which could be held as early as September. «There is no such prospect,» said Papandreou. «We have nothing in common with New Democracy.» Labor Minister Vassilis Magginas said yesterday that reforming social security should be the «last thing» that Papandreou brings up, as PASOK has rejected the government’s effort to begin discussions about future changes to the system. Papandreou defended his recent outspoken criticism of the government, saying that he was being «strict» and «honest» but not confrontational. «My criticism is responsible and based on facts,» said Papandreou. «How strict I am has to do with the demands I make of myself.» He accused the government of «polarizing society,» being incapable of dealing with any crisis it has faced and using its power to serve the needs of the party and not the country. An opinion poll published in Sunday’s To Vima newspaper suggested the difference between New Democracy and PASOK is at 1 percent. The Kapa Research survey had New Democracy on 36.1 percent and PASOK on 35.1 percent.

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