PM looks to build on early popularity

Prime Minister George Papandreou promised yesterday to transform the area of Ileia, in the Peloponnese, which was ravaged by wildfires in 2007, into a «model for green development,» as a new opinion poll showed overwhelming support for the Cabinet that he named last week. Papandreou, accompanied by five ministers, held talks with local officials in Ancient Olympia, which was also scorched by fire two years ago. Also accompanying the prime minister was Spanish architect Josep Acebillo, who Papandreou mentioned during the election campaign and who is apparently going to work with the government on several regeneration projects. Papandreou said that, after consultation with locals, his government would submit a bill to Parliament detailing how environmentally friendly development in Ileia could be achieved. Meanwhile, an opinion poll conducted by Public Issue for Sunday’s Kathimerini indicated that 83 percent of people’s impression of the new government is «probably positive.» This is considerably higher than rating for the previous two governments when they were elected. Labor Minister Andreas Loverdos, followed by Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis are the most popular Cabinet members with eight in 10 of the 539 respondents saying they had a positive opinion of the two men. State Minister Haris Paboukis came bottom of the list, with an approval rate of 43 percent. Sources said that Papandreou wants Paboukis, who has been a close aide since the 1990s, to take on a role similar to that of the chief of staff at the White House in Washington, whereby he oversees and coordinates ministers’ work.