NEWS

Much back-and-forth over polls

New Democracy and PASOK accused each other yesterday of feeding the speculation about snap elections before officials of both parties made comments that hinted at the possibility the country may be going to the polls in the next few months. Speaking in Parliament on Thursday, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis appeared to try to stop the election rumors by saying that there were more immediate issues to deal with, such as the economy. However, PASOK claimed yesterday that the premier had simply fueled gossip by telling the Socialists to «be careful what you wish for» after the party’s leader, George Papandreou, called for a general election. «We did not hear the prime minister say that he would see out a four-year term but, even if we did, the events of the last few days have made it clear that country is ungoverned,» said PASOK spokesman Giorgos Papaconstantinou. «That is why we are expecting and asking for elections.» Papaconstantinou said that during yesterday’s meeting of PASOK’s political council, it was decided that a coordination committee would be set up to direct the party’s campaign for the European Parliament elections on June 7. On its part, the government pointed its finger at the opposition party for being behind the frenzied speculation about the possibility that Karamanlis will go to the polls, maybe even on the same day as the vote for MEPs. «We will not feed election talk,» said government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros when questioned about whether Karamanlis had been deliberately vague in the comments he made in Parliament. However, soon after Antonaros spoke, Culture Minister Antonis Samaras appeared to raise the issue of elections again. «Karamanlis will become the first leader, since the return of democracy to Greece, to win a third straight term as prime minister,» he said after holding talks with the premier.