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New Democracy for New Greece

29 June 2013 / 14:06:34  GRReporter
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During the first day of the 9th congress of New Democracy, Antonis Samaras called for the integration of "New Greece," which is also the slogan of the event. The Prime Minister of Greece and president of New Democracy made a short pause while delivering his speech because he did not feel well. The statement of the Prime Minister's press office reads that Samaras had been suffering from viral gastroenteritis over the past week and this, combined with his busy schedule, was the cause of his fainting during the congress and the interruption of his speech. Samaras was able to finish his speech and went home after that.

Samaras’ fainting, photo

In his speech, Samaras spoke about the positive elements in the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) agreement, describing it as the most positive economic news of the last decade, and defended his decision to close the national broadcaster ERT. Samaras spoke about the first anniversary of the three-party government too, recognizing the contribution of the other two parties, namely, PASOK and Democratic Left.

"A year ago, we assumed office with three-party cooperation under dramatic conditions. We were able to refute all catastrophic scenarios in a year. We have retained Greece in Europe and we have put the country on the world energy map with the TAP agreement," Samaras said, adding that the new pipeline will create thousands of jobs. "We have promised that we will not allow Greece to exit the euro zone ... We know that in order to escape from our lenders we must not need loans," the Prime Minister added. Samaras stressed that Greece had become attractive for investors and that the privatization of the state lottery OPAP and of the Greek gas transmission system operator was underway; he also noted that the problems with the state gas company would soon be resolved. According to Samaras, some acted too hastily but they did not know that the TAP was coming. "I would prefer the country to win and for Mr. Tsipras to be bothered," he said, adding that the country will become a producer of energy. Summarizing, Antonis Samaras stated that the country's development had rehabilitated Kostas Karamanlis, who had requested such measures in 2009, as well as he himself and that the full vindication would come when the unemployment issue was resolved.

Samaras recognised the contribution of PASOK and Democratic Left to the ruling over the past year although their development will always be different. He stressed that, in critical moments, a party is required to serve the country. "Greece’s rescue is for it to remain in Europe and we have achieved that goal all together. In recent days, we have endured a severe trial due to our courage to close ERT, which was a fortress of those who had been able to be comfortably appointed there. We have closed ERT in order to obtain a truly independent public broadcaster," said Samaras, adding, "Should it have remained since all the people are making sacrifices? Should the wastefulness and scandals revealed by the prosecution have remained?" Samaras stated that no one was above the law and that all managers of ERT had violated the laws. PASOK and New Democracy had made appointments but these were mainly people from the left wing. The new state broadcaster will be beyond party influences, according to Samaras who added that there was no reform without conflicts.

Then he described his vision of new Greece by saying, "This is a country that relies on its strength rather than on loans and it will use its human potential. This will be a country that will protect its national rights. Greece along with Cyprus could become a factor of stability in the Mediterranean region and of economic development in the Balkans. We do not want anyone to adopt us, we are able to win the respect of all. Thirdly, the source of our strength is democracy, which is not in the party state or in the privileges of guilds. The source of our strength is our culture, which is the mother of modern culture."

The congress of New Democracy began on Friday afternoon with welcoming speeches of the representatives of the parties. Invitations had been sent to all parliamentary parties except for Golden Dawn. Secretary Nikos Androulakis spoke on behalf of PASOK, Dimitris Vitsas on behalf of SYRIZA, Yiannis Giokas represented the Communist Party and Spiros Likoudis Democratic Left.

Nikos Androulakis said that the government was born out of national necessity and that the new programme agreement should give priority to socially fair reforms of the tax system and of the functioning of the market.

In a brief speech, Dimitris Vitsas stressed the need for democratic parties to fight fascism. "The country is under the yoke of the Memorandum and it is the duty of all to allow the people to approve the policies that are being applied in order to prevent fascism from growing," he said.

Yiannis Giokas stated that the development, if it occurred, would materialize along with high unemployment and conflicts. "The people must take in their hands the opportunities of development of the country," he added.

Spiros Likoudis said that errors and omissions had destroyed the unity, which had driven the party to withdraw from the government.

Kostas Karamanlis, former president of New Democracy, was welcomed with storms of applause.

The congress will end on Sunday with the election of a new political committee of the party. The strongest candidate for party secretary is Andreas Papamimikos who enjoys the support of the Prime Minister.

The congress programme on Saturday includes the approval of the congress regulations, speeches of Dimitris Avramopoulos, Vice-President of the party, of Thanassis Bouras, general secretary of the parliamentary group, of the chairman of the youth organization of the European People's Party Konstantinos Kiranakis and speeches of delegates. The ideological commission, the commission for policies and programmes and the statute commission will present their proposals. The three commissions will sit and their proposal to the delegates will be approved at the end of the day.

The commissions will present the final versions of the approved texts on Sunday when they will be voted. Marietta Yiannakou, head of the parliamentary group of the party's Members of European Parliament, Manolis Kefaloyiannis, secretary of the political committee, Antonio Lopez – Isturiz, general secretary of the European People's Party will deliver speeches at the congress whose work will be summarized by Antonis Samaras.

Tags: CongressNew DemocracyAntonis Samaras
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