PASOK plays corruption card

PASOK leader George Papandreou went on the offensive yesterday, promising a Socialist government that would ensure greater transparency in public life, as Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis defended his government’s economic policy in the midst of continuing speculation about when he might conduct a Cabinet reshuffle or call an early election. In an article published on PASOK’s website, Papandreou attacked the government and Karamanlis in particular for failing to tackle corruption. «He is responsible for not grabbing the chance to adopt our suggestions on transparency and changing the political system,» said the PASOK leader. «[Karamanlis] is part of the problem, a hostage to interests and not up to the job,» added Papandreou. He went on to declare that it was «time for politics to regain its autonomy» as he outlined what a PASOK government would do in its first days in office to tackle graft. According to Papandreou, he would reduce the amount spent on elections by changing the system so that each constituency would have only one parliamentary seat. Also, PASOK intends to make the funding of political parties more transparent and to upload onto the Internet all the decisions that have been signed by ministers. Speaking at the Credit Guarantee Fund for Small and Very Small Enterprises (TEMPME), Karamanlis chose instead to focus on the steps that the government was taking to help the country through the economic crisis. The prime minister stressed that some of the decisions he has been obliged to take have «not been pleasant» but attributed some of the blame to problems that were not resolved by previous governments. Karamanlis has visited several public organizations this summer. It is a tactic often used in election campaigns but sources said yesterday that he has yet to decide on a reshuffle or a snap poll. One scenario that seems likely is that Karamanlis might do both following his keynote economic policy speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair on the first weekend of September. New Democracy cadres appear to be preparing the ground for a snap poll by highlighting the fact that since PASOK is determined to force an election over the presidential nomination next March, calling Greeks to vote before then would prevent a prolonged election campaign. «PASOK is leading the government into a long election period, which is damaging,» said ND secretary Lefteris Zagoritis. «PASOK is knowingly doing damage to the country.»