PM looks for way back

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is still considered a much better leader than PASOK’s George Papandreou, according to a survey made public yesterday, although New Democracy party members are growing increasingly restless about the way that the premier and his team are handling the campaign for the October 4 elections. The opinion poll conducted by Public Issue for Skai TV and Radio indicated that 42 percent of those questioned believe that Karamanlis has good leadership qualities, compared to 24 percent who think the same of Papandreou. However, Karamanlis trails the PASOK leader in a number of other categories, including «being able to make a good impression,» «being close to average citizens» and «having competent aides.» Karamanlis’s leadership qualities are beginning to be questioned within New Democracy, as the ruling conservatives see the election slipping away from them. Sources said that complaints are growing about the campaign’s lack of coordination and inability to get the government’s message across. The conservatives are hoping that Karamanlis might be able to stage a comeback in the televised debates between the party leaders, and government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros made it known yesterday that ND had agreed to holding the debates on Monday and Tuesday next week. The first debate will be between the leaders of the six main parties. The next day just Karamanlis and Papandreou are to due to debate each other. The details of the debates still have to be approved by a cross-party committee. Speaking yesterday in his native Serres, northern Greece, Karamanlis launched a series of verbal attacks on Papandreou and his policies, including his stance on foreign affairs issues. Papandreou is due to unveil on Sunday his party’s manifesto, fleshing out the proposals he put forward in Thessaloniki last weekend, which included the content of the first five draft laws that PASOK intends to pass if it comes to power.