NEWS

PM says Vatopedi has not made dent

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis insists that he is still feeling «powerful» despite the escalation of the Vatopedi Monastery scandal but did not rule out the possibility of reshuffling his Cabinet in the very near future. Karamanlis was speaking from Brussels, where he was attending a European Union summit on the financial crisis. But questions from Greek journalists focused very much on domestic issues in the wake of the government’s decision to ask Parliament to investigate the land exchange involving the Mount Athos monastery. The conservatives made the request after two prosecutors resigned from the case following suggestions that their superiors had prevented the possible culpability of members of the government from being thoroughly investigated. «I feel very powerful but I have a responsibility to take initiatives to clear up every matter,» he said when asked about being forced to ask for a parliamentary investigation. Karamanlis rejected calls by PASOK to set up a more potent, pre-judicial inquiry. «For Parliament to launch such an inquiry, there has to be evidence pointing to a crime and the involvement of specific people,» he said. «At the moment, this is not the case.» He accused PASOK and the right-wing Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), who want a pre-judicial inquiry, of «playing to the gallery.» «We are not afraid,» he said. «We have nothing to hide and we want to shed light on everything.» Rumors have intensified over the last couple of days that Karamanlis will conduct a Cabinet reshuffle in a bid to shake off all the negative publicity surrounding his party. The prime minister did not deny that he was considering changes. «It is my decision if and when it happens,» he told journalists.