Greek PM: A Mandate for Change - The Best from Greece

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Posted on: 07/Oct/2009

PM Papandreou addresses first Cabinet meeting

"Today we change page and embark on a new course for a just society, for a Greece that will make us proud, and to put the country back on a developmental track," newly-elected prime minister George Papandreou told the first meeting of his Cabinet on Wednesday, immediately after it was sworn in.

"All together, united, we Greeks will write the next pages of our history," the premier said, stressing his goals of transparency across the board, systematic modernisation and upgrading of the state and the democratic institutions, a professional approach to resolving problems, and protection of the individual rights but also the collective public interest.

Papandreou said that the new government "has received a mandate for the reversal of the situation...a mandate to change the way of governance of our country".

The premier stressed that all the institutions need to be upgraded in order to become an element of the upgrading of democracy, to the citizens' benefit.

Noting that the issue at hand "is not the money, but its proper management", Papandreou said that the "extensive corruption" has "taken on the dimensions of a pandemic", and pledged that "we will clash with perceptions deeply-rooted in the state and society".

He instructed his ministers to take account of the problems existing in the ministries they are taking on, and to "not sweep them under the carpet" but to confront them and solve them.

Papandreou asked that each minister record the problems faced by his/her respective ministry, so that they can present them to a Cabinet meeting or meetings next week, together with their priorities, noting that "the problems need to be known before measures are announced".

The premier instructed his ministers to exercise authority without discrimination -- social, financial, religious or other -- adding that he as invited Ombudsman George Kaminis to address the Cabinet for that reason, given the latter's immense experience in public administration matters.

He further instructed the ministers to seek the resignation of all the ad hoc committees in their ministries, noting that, after evaluation, if the operation of a specific committee was deemed necessary, it could be reinstated.



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