Resignation at the top

The country’s general secretary for this summer’s Olympics, Professor Costas Cartalis, resigned from his post yesterday despite being asked to stay on by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. Cartalis was appointed to his post by the PASOK party, last Sunday’s loser in the national elections, while in power in 1999. The resignation came as a surprise amid the outgoing party’s pledges of support for the newly elected conservative New Democracy party in the final runup to this summer’s Athens Olympic Games. Besides his appointment for the high-level Olympics job, Cartalis had, in the past, also served as a chief adviser at the Culture Ministry under three former ministers, Elissavet Papazoe, Theodoros Pangalos, and, most recently, Evangelos Venizelos, who lost his post following PASOK’s electoral defeat last Sunday. There have been no announcements about Cartalis’s replacement. During election campaigning, Karamanlis had pledged that officials serving crucial Olympic posts would be left to continue their work without any distractions, if his party assumed power. With just 150 days remaining until the opening ceremony on August 13, and considerable work needed for the completion of pending projects, the newly elected government needs to act fast. The International Olympic Committee’s president, Jacques Rogge, is scheduled to visit Athens on Saturday for talks with Greece’s new leadership on the delayed Olympic projects. Yesterday, Venizelos, the outgoing culture minister, contended that the «Olympic projects were either ready, or will be completed in several weeks.» Besides steering the unfinished works to the finish line, the newly elected government must also submit legislation to Parliament for the capital’s functioning during the Athens Olympics.

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