Parnitha is sizzling topic for leaders

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis accused PASOK of trying to turn the recent forest fires into a vote winner for the Socialists who have been critical of the government’s handling of the crisis. «There are no votes [to be won] in natural disasters,» said Karamanlis during a parliamentary debate last night. «Anyone who looks for votes there makes a fool of himself.» Karamanlis also accused PASOK of behaving like reactionaries who pretended that they had never been in power and that «everything had gone wrong in the last three years.» The premier said that he was happy to compare his government’s record to that of previous PASOK administrations. Socialist leader George Papandreou accused the ruling conservatives of «harming the country.» He said that Karamanlis was «pretending to be an ecologist» but his government had failed to protect Greece’s forests from fire. Karamanlis pledged on Sunday that none of the burned forestland in Parnitha, Pelion and other areas ravaged by fire would be built on. Communist Party leader Aleka Papariga told MPs that she did not believe Karamanlis’s promise. The government has also said it will look into the possibility of compensating anyone who has been affected by the forest fires this summer. Papariga called for farmers to be compensated for lost crops and the money spent on planting and growing.

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