17 January, 2006
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Monday had their first discussion on the revision of the country's Constitution proposed by Karamanlis' ruling New Democracy party (ND).
"The purpose is to find common targets," Karamanlis said while greeting Papandreou at the Maximos Mansion (government headquarters).
Papandreou added that it was important for common targets to be found, but also focused on everyday matters on which, he said, the present Constitution provided solutions.
Karamanlis replied that there was always room for improvement.
During their meeting, Karamanlis briefed the main opposition leader on the government's proposal for the Constitution's revision. The issue is also slated for discussion on Tuesday at a meeting of the ND parliamentary group to be chaired by the premier.
After the meeting, Papandreou voiced support for a "bold revision", noting that he had Karamanlis had "exchanged views" on the issue.
Papandreou reiterated that many of the problems existing today could be solved with the existing Constitution, noting that such problems were related to the economy, unemployment, healthcare, and bureaucracy.
"The present Constitution does not hinder any government from exercising correct policies," he said.
Papandreou said his PASOK party would submit its own proposals, following serious study and deliberations with the citizens, so that the revision would be a bold one.
"We are in favor of a corrective revision," Papandreou said, adding that his party did not want to become embroiled in a meaningless, disorienting discussion.
He also said he was against a "petty political revision with a short range".
The revision, he stressed, needed to be for the citizen, and not the opinion polls, if it were to meet the needs of the future generations, while "we have our eyes also on the present, difficult reality".
Source: Athens News Agency