Elections: Government change in Greece - Worried about the Olympics
Today Sunday it was general elections day to elect new parliament. The conservatives won by a wide margin (apprx. 47%) over the previously ruling socialists.
The problem is, that knowing how things are done in Greece they will appoint all sorts of changes to the various goverment officials; this has the potential of affecting the completion of various athletic & supportive facilities for the Olympics in August.
I would say Greece would still fully stand behind the olympics, I dont see it having any kind of negative impact on the country. Better for the economy as a whole; so why would they chop out some of the facilities for some of the events?
Plus, as you know, Greece is the father of the olympics...why would they give up the chance of having it again in the homeland?
A related article on CNN raises the same concerns:
Greek conservatives reclaim power
ATHENS, Greece -- Greece's conservatives have reclaimed power after 10 years following a convincing win by Costas Karamanlis' New Democracy Party in the nation's general elections.
Socialist leader George Papandreou conceded defeat on Sunday evening as exit polls gave Karamanlis a 3 to 6 percentage point victory, ending a decade of rule by Papandreou's Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement.
"This is a turning point in Greek history," Papandreou said. "It is now time to focus on economic matters."
The conservatives face huge tasks: completing the badly delayed projects for the August 13-29 Olympics and making sure the $800 million security network keeps pace with possible threats.
The Greek economy was a central issue in the election campaign.
Voting is compulsory in Greece, which has a population of 11 million. There are nearly 10 million registered voters, a large number attributed to an aging population and many Greeks living abroad.
The main choice had been between the inheritors of two family dynasties that have dominated modern Greek politics.
On the right was New Democracy conservative leader Costas Karamanlis, 47, nephew of a former prime minister who led Greece out of military dictatorship.
On the left was Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou, 52, grandson and son of former prime ministers, who was bidding to win the party's fourth consecutive election since 1993.
Karamanlis becomes the first Greek head of government born after World War two and the bitter 1946-49 civil war between conservatives and communists that followed.
Papandreou was the more upbeat of the two main party leaders when he cast his vote Sunday.
The Socialists had governed Greece since 1981 except for a three-year break in 1990-1993, when New Democracy was in power. But the Socialists have been beset by widespread perceptions of corruption, patronage and an inability to rein in Greece's huge bureaucracy.
Greeks also complained of rising prices and a declining standard of living since the country adopted the euro two years ago.
Much of Papandreou's popularity rested on his success at improving once-hostile relations with neighboring Turkey and his famous name.
His father, the late Premier Andreas Papandreou, founded the party three decades ago and built it into a powerhouse by doling out civil service jobs and appealing to Greek insecurities -- especially toward U.S. policies in the region.
But Karamanlis also is the scion of a Greek political dynasty. New Democracy was founded in 1974 by his uncle and namesake, former premier and president Constantine Karamanlis.
His promises were of smaller government, less bureaucracy and fewer taxes. Karamanlis also pledged more funds for social welfare, education and health.
Each side had criticized the other for the Olympic construction delays.
With the Summer Games only five months away, there are worries that many projects -- including a roof for the main Olympic stadium and a key transportation link -- may not be finished in time.
I've no doubt the "front end" will be ready on time and the presentation will be unsurpassed.
What concerns me is the usual complaints about hospitality issues; there are simply not enough hotel rooms to host all visitors, so cruise liners have been called to the rescue. The focus was security since the events of 9/11; the Olympics in Athens will have the biggest budget ever for security at a projected $775 million; more than three times that of Sydney in 2000.
Then again I've been away from Greece too long to grasp the exact magnitude in progress, hence this thread
I believe no changes will be made. The new governement will not be that stupid to take responsibilities and make changes. They'll leave everything as it is and the errors will be marked as errors of the previous government.
By the way who has spent some time reading things about Olympic Games and their history, will be able to understand, easily, that Greeks have a more complete understanding about what the Olympic Games are. Many think that Olympic Games are sports and spots. Well, that is a big part... but there is more. That 'more' have missed all the previous Olympic Games and Sydney of course. It has mainly to do with the culture, not here to explain it in details, but you could check the link http://www.cultural-olympiad.gr to get an idea.
I'm not sure if the Olympic Games will be successful 100%, but I'm sure that new ideas have been produced and and the Greeks have tried to point the real spirit of Olympic Games. And for the moment that's enough for me.
That's exactly what I was talking about - the "ax" is falling already:
Axe poised to fall on thousands of Greek officials
By Harry de Quetteville in Athens
Thousands of political appointees are facing the sack in Greece as the new Conservative government prepares to purge the hangers-on of a generation of socialist rule.
From government ministries to state-run companies, the prime minister-elect, Costas Karamanlis, is poised to let the blade fall on the functionaries of the ancien regime.
"There are 10,000 officials sitting pretty," said Vyron Polydoras, spokesman for the newly elected New Democracy party, last week when he announced plans for the party's first day in office. "First of all, with 'Good morning', all the officials will go."
Mr Karamanlis secured a landslide victory in Sunday's election and is now expected to make good on that promised purge. While many Greeks rejoiced at his victory, the axe appears inevitable for thousands of appointees who had pinned their fate to that of the ousted socialists.
The process is expected to begin quickly as Greece begins to emerge from its post-election party hangover.
"Across the ministry a lot of people will lose their jobs," said one foreign ministry insider. "It's pretty hardcore."
Cabinet seats are also likely to be harder to come by, with a hard cutting back widely expected. Under the socialists there were 19 cabinet ministries and 50 cabinet members.
Outside of government, the executives filling the boardrooms at state-run companies are also facing the chop.
"Nobody expected such a big margin of defeat for the socialists," said Grigoris Nikolopoulos, a political commentator for the Vima newspaper. "Now a lot of people will lose management positions in all the public companies."
The scale of the election defeat for the socialists of the Pasok party, who trailed New Democracy by six per cent in the vote, has been seen as indictment of perceived arrogance and cronyism among a political elite.
But many cynical Greek voters predict that the impending purge will simply become a changing of the guard, with one set of highly paid favourites replaced by another.
Yesterday, Mr Karamanlis pledged that would not happen, promising to appoint independent consultants to ensure the government's economic probity.
Despite his overwhelming majority, Mr Karamanlis faces a wealth of problems ahead, notably balancing the country's books while fulfilling spending promises.
Greece's economic growth - the European Union's fastest - is driven by the Olympics and the host of construction projects associated with it.
New Democracy is promising to maintain that growth after the summer with tax cuts intended to attract outside investment.
But with campaign promises to raise spending on welfare, health and education, there may not be enough money to go round, and raising cash by enforcing broader state sector layoffs is certain to prompt industrial action.
"There will be the usual strike problem," said Mr Nikolopoulos. "Everyone will ask everything of the government and it won't be possible because there isn't enough money. So we will have strikes."
Yesterday, however, Mr Karamanlis was able to bask in the glow of his electoral success.
Not only was his rise to power greeted on the Greek stock market with sharp price rises, but in Ankara, the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, promised to visit Athens within a month.
His first meeting with Mr Karamanlis will be aimed at solving the Cyprus conflict in time for a reunified island to join the EU on May 1.
It also marks the continued thaw in relations between the two old enemies.