ND exerts added pressure in blame game

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday accused PASOK of trying to smear his government over the Siemens scandal, as the ruling conservatives in turn attempted to blame previous Socialist governments over the affair. Speaking in rain-drenched Thessaloniki just 24 hours after PASOK leader George Papandreou, Karamanlis accused the Socialists of clutching at straws ahead of the European parliamentary elections on Sunday. «PASOK and its leadership have lost their cool,» he said. «They are misinforming, distorting and telling lies.» Karamanlis said that PASOK was trying to blame the ruling conservatives for problems and scandals that were created by Socialist governments. Earlier in the day, at his regular press briefing, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros had launched an all-out attack on PASOK in connection with the Siemens scandal. Antonaros suggested that all the key suspects and witnesses in the case were in one way or another linked to previous Socialist governments. He said it was ironic that PASOK should be criticizing the government for failing to prevent former Siemens Hellas executive Christos Karavelas from fleeing the country and going to Germany when the same official had been responsible for «giving out money left and right» while PASOK was in power. The government, however, had some problems of its own creation to deal with yesterday when Foreign Ministry diplomats issued a statement challenging Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyiannis’s assertion that they had been to blame for the fact that Greek authorities had not been alerted sooner that Karavelas had transferred more than 3 million euros to Uruguay.