Greek communists 'disappointed' with election results
05:13 05/10/2009 ATHENS, October 5 (RIA Novosti) - The General Secretary of the Communist Party of Greece Aleka Papariga said on Monday she was disappointed with the results of Sunday's parliamentary election, which was won by the Socialists.
With 93% of the ballots counted, PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement), led by former foreign minister George Papandreou, has 44% of the votes and 160 seats in the 300-seat parliament.
"The course is not changing, only the captain of the ship," the communist leader said, adding that "the [Greek] people have not shown their strength."
The Communist Party, which managed to garner 7.4% of the votes and 20 seats in the parliament, considers PASOK and the former ruling conservative New Democracy party led by 53-year-old Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis as both "bourgeoisie" and "anti-people."
The New Democracy party suffered a major defeat in the election, gaining slightly under 34% of the votes and only 92 parliamentary seats. The Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) won 5.6% of the votes and the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) - 4.5% with 15 and 13 parliamentary seats,respectively. Other parties have failed to make it to parliament.
PASOK leader Papandreou is now facing a tough task of tackling the failing economy, which is expected to contract even further this year.
Greece is currently burdened with increasing unemployment rate and one of the biggest public debts in the euro zone, amounting to nearly 100% of its GDP. Its budget deficit almost doubled the euro zone maximum of 3% and continues to grow.
Karamanlis, who resigned from the post of party leader shortly after conceding election defeat, announced the early election halfway through his second four-year term in an attempt to regain his party's dwindling popularity.
He also proposed an austerity program, which would include cutting budget expenses and freezing wages and pensions, is the only way to compensate for the impact of the global financial crisis on the Greek economy.
His long-term rival Papandreou, 57, has said the economy needs a stimulus package to spur the GDP growth. Under Papandreou's plan, about 2-3 billion euro ($3-4.3 billion) would be allocated to stimulate the economy, followed by significant investment into infrastructure projects, science and education. He has also pledged a tax system reform and anti-corruption measures.
The conservatives and the communists have dismissed PASOK's program as "populist."
Both Karamanlis and Papandreou come from political dynasties and were facing off in the national elections for a third time. The previous two encounters were won by Karamanlis.
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