Papandreou wants wider probe

PASOK leader George Papandreou yesterday called for MPs to cancel their holidays and attend Parliament over the summer so that a committee could be set up to investigate political scandals, including the Siemens bribery affair. Papandreou said that once deputies had examined a number of scandals, voters should be allowed to choose who they trust most in early general elections. The Socialist leader sought to take the moral high ground since PASOK has become embroiled in the Siemens affair, saying that he wants a parliamentary committed to be set up to investigate claims that the German firm paid bribes to politicians in Greece to secure state contracts. Parliament operates at reduced capacity between July and September with only 100 of the 300 MPs on call at any given time. «Immediately after [the parliamentary investigation], we can submit our ideas and let the people decide in an election,» Papandreou said during a press conference. «I am not favored by any interests and I may have paid for that in the past, but I will not stop talking about the need for autonomy in politics.» The PASOK leader called for greater transparency in party funding and cast doubt on whether Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis actually wants to fight corruption in political life. «I want to believe that he is clean but I have not yet seen his political will to do battle with certain interests, which, unfortunately seem to be holding him hostage,» he said. Papandreou also had a message for critics within his party, such as former Prime Minister Costas Simitis and MP Evangelos Venizelos. «Different views have to be part of a team effort and must not appear as a squabble over the seat of power,» he said before suggesting that he wants to bring some new blood into his party. «As PASOK president, I will support the younger generation on the political stage while making use of the experience of older members. But I will give young people the advantage.»