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Greece

Yearbook 1996

Greece. The severely ill Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou was forced to resign in January. He was replaced somewhat surprisingly by his sharpest critic in the Pan-Dutch socialist movement (Panellinion Socialistikon Kinima, PASOK), Kostas Simitis. He had left the government a few months earlier in protest against Papandreou's policies, but now won the vote within the party.

1996 Greece

According to Countryaah.com, Simitis had barely taken office until G. got into a serious conflict with the enemy Turkey over the ownership of an uninhabited islet in the Aegean, called Imia in Greek and Kardak in Turkish. The UN and NATO tried to mediate when warships from both countries became dangerously close to each other and there was a war atmosphere. Following the intervention of US President Bill Clinton, the vessels were withdrawn. G., however, continued the conflict by blocking EU aid and a loan from the European Investment Bank totaling more than SEK 9 billion. to Turkey.

At the end of June, Papandreou passed away and was followed to the grave by tens of thousands of followers. However, his colorful leadership style was already a thing of the past, and after the election of Simitis as party leader, PASOK was given a new look. Simitis pledged to quickly adapt G. to the EU and received support for its policy in a quickly announced new election in September, more than a year earlier than intended. PASOK's victory over the conservative New Democrat (Nea Dimokratia) became quite scarce as a percentage of votes but superior in terms of mandate due to the design of the electoral system. After all, there was widespread opposition to the harsh austerity measures that the EU alignment would entail, as evidenced by the fact that the three small left parties that most clearly opposed these austerity measures were the only ones besides the two dominant parties that passed the three-percent blockade to Parliament.

The budget presented at the end of November was described as the tightest in 15 years and entailed large reductions in central government expenditure, but also large tax increases for high-income and self-employed persons. The budget was met by angry protests from mainly farmers, who for a large part of December blocked roads and railways in central G. to get through their financial demands on the government, which however failed.

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