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Last Updated: Monday, 8 March, 2004, 14:09 GMT
'Shock and awe' in Greek media
Conservative party leader Costas Karamanlis
In power after more than 10 years

Strong reactions, from admiration to anguish, feature in Greek newspapers following the conservative New Democracy (ND)'s election victory, which saw the socialist Pasok ousted from government after more than a decade in power.

There is much speculation about whether voters wanted Costas Karamanlis' ND to win, or whether they wanted to punish George Papandreou's Pasok.

Greek Cypriot papers also speculate on what the result means for the divided island of Cyprus.

Athens' right-of-centre Apoyevmatini describes the result as a "triumph... an absolute victory for ND" resulting in "all night celebrations throughout Greece".

The people punished arrogant deviation [from party principles], corruption, and abandoning the social state
To Paron

The rightist daily Elevtheros Tipos says Mr Karamanlis is "all powerful and unifying", describing the result as an "unprecedented triumph for ND, shock and awe in Pasok".

Meanwhile, the left-of-centre Avriani expresses outrage, calling on Mr Papandreou to "pursue those responsible for this humiliation".

Punished

A special edition of the left-of-centre weekly To Paron carries the front-page headline "They buried Pasok!", adding that "the leadership's tragic mistakes brought about the crash".

"The people punished arrogant deviation [from party principles], corruption, and abandoning the social state."

George, We Lost
Elevtherotipia

"New Government, Chronic Problems" is how the independent daily To Vima sees it: "The voters punished Pasok's mistakes."

A commentary by Stavros P. Psikharis says the Greek people were generally displeased with the "omissions and inadequacies of the last government... Everyone should remember that yesterday was not the end of a marathon, but merely the handing over of the relay baton."

'Clear mandate for ND'

The centre-left daily Ta Nea echoes the idea with its front-page headline "Punishment Vote".

The front page of the leftist Elevtherotipia carries a stark message for the Pasok leader: "George, We Lost."

The paper comments that Pasok's vote fell throughout the country.

The centre-left Ethnos comments: "Mandate for Karamanlis, message of renewal to Pasok".

It quotes Mr Papandreou as saying Pasok will "proceed on the road to change, in order yet again to seek the trust of the Greek people".

'Hard times are coming'

The independent daily I Kathimerini calls the result "The Great Reversal", saying it is reminiscent of Pasok's major victory over ND in 1981, with the roles reversed.

The reports inside the paper say the new government has a "heavy burden", with expectations of "high performance from Karamanlis".

The paper of the Greek Communist Party, Rizospastis, warns that "hard times are coming."

It says there seems little to choose between ND and Pasok, as it believes neither party will introduce major changes benefiting the Greek people.

Cyprus issue

The independent Politis in Nicosia says the Cyprus issue will be Mr Karamanlis' "first test".

Aristidhis Viketos writes that President Papadopoulos "must be satisfied" with the ND victory, as Mr Karamanlis is "tougher" than Mr Papandreou, "especially vis--vis the Americans."

Greece should stand upright and be demanding, especially within the EU, but also as a guarantor power so that it can act as a bastion against Turkish greed and rapacity
To Tharros

A commentary by Yiannos Kharalambidhis in the centre-right I Simerini says Mr Karamanlis will face "hurdles" because of the previous government's policies on Greek-Turkish relations and the Annan Plan.

But the paper thinks Mr Karamanlis has one advantage: "He is not a hostage to his own commitments."

The nationalist To Tharros is in uncompromising mood. Greece has "an unfinished obligation to Cyprus", it says.

"It should stand upright and be demanding, especially within the EU, but also as a guarantor power so that it can act as a bastion against Turkish greed and rapacity."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.




SEE ALSO:
Country profile: Greece
29 Feb 04  |  Country profiles
Neck-and-neck race in Greek vote
05 Mar 04  |  Europe


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