Greece goes to the polls next Sunday (20 November) to decide who will govern the country for the next four years.
TOP VIEW GV PAN: Alliance Party supporters chanting and waving flags and banners.
SV: President of art, Elias Eliou, speaking in Greek from rostrum.
TV: supporters chanting.
LV: Elias Eliou continues speaking in Greek
GV: supporters waving banners, chanting and letting off fireworks. (2 shots)
Prime Minister Constantine Karamanlis called the elections a year early. He said the Cyprus issue, disputes with Turkey over territorial rights in the Aegean sea, and Greece's negotiations with the EEC for full membership would enter a decisive phase next year. Because of this he said a government with a fresh mandate would be better equipped than a government which would have to concentrate attention on fighting an election campaign.
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Background: Greece goes to the polls next Sunday (20 November) to decide who will govern the country for the next four years. Most political observers have predicted that the ruling New Democracy party will be returned with a big majority. But seven other major parties are contesting the election, and in past weeks have been doing everything in their power to attract voters. Athens has taken on an almost carnival atmosphere with loudspeakers blaring music and propaganda, and a confetti of leaflets being showered regularly around the streets. This week the campaigning reached a peak with the first of four big rallies held in the city's Constitution Square on Tuesday (15 November). This was organised by the left-wing Alliance Party, and thousands of flag-waving supporters were there.
SYNOPSIS: The Alliance Party consists of four splinter groups of left-wing dissidents which ave joined hands with the Communist Party of the Interior, the Greek eurocommunists, to contest the election.
Their leader is veteran Greek politician, 73 year-old Elias Eliou. In an address he outlined the party's objectives, which he said were aimed at deep social and political change. Mr Eliou accused the ruling New Democracy party of having failed in all fields. He said it had ruled Greece under a one-party despotic government which had supported imperialism and assisted monopolies.
Mr Eliou said his party could bring a surprise to the election outcome.
The Alliance Party favours membership of the European Economic Community, but wants a more independent foreign policy. Mr Eliou said it would work towards socialism, and a better future for everybody in Greece. And, after attacking the conservative right-wing government, he went on to criticise the extreme left, the Moscow-controlled Greek Communist party. Mr Eliou accused the communists of preventing unity among the working classes. He said such disunity would only allow the right to take control again.
In spite of such enthusiastic support, political observers don't rate the party's chances of success very highly. Most believe the contest will be between the New Democracy, Democratic Centre, and the Panhellenic Socialist parties.
The president of the "Alliance of the Five" (consisted by Progressive and Leftist Forces) Mr. Elias Eliou, was the first leader to appear at Athens Constitution Square tonight and talk to the Movement followers. Andreas Papandreou will appear on Wednesday, George Mavres on Thursday and Constantine Karamanlis on Friday.
Thousands of the "Alliance "followers, most of whom belonged t the Communist Party of the Interior (Eurocommunists), attended the mass rally and cheered the five leaders of the "Alliance".
Elias Eliou, after underlining his party's objectives which are "deep social and political change", accused Karamanlis' government to have failed in all the fields, saying that he turned Greece into a one-party despotic government which assisted monopolies and imperialism.
Referring to the New Democracy Party (Karamanlis') slogan that Karamanlis took chaos and transformed it into a State, Eliou said that Karamanlis' administration allowed monarchists and Juntists to raise up again during the three year of the party's ruling.
The "Alliance" he explained will work for Socialism and a better future, forecasting that imperialism and monopolies would fall soon.
He finally accused the KKE (Moscow-controlled Greek Communist Party) for having prevented unity of the working classes. "Disunity -- he said -- will let the Right in again".
The "Alliance" is also against Greece's association with the EEC, the country's return to the Military Wing of NATO and the establishment of U.S. military bases in Greece. The Alliance is for a free and independent national policy.