The Greek Parliament has been dissolved, and 19 of its 21 under-secretaries have resigned to make way for a caretaker government, which will control the country until general elections are held next month.
GV PAN EXT. Parliament building.
LV INT. Ministers seated around table.
SV AND CU Various ministers seated. (3 shots)
SV PAN Prime Minister Constantine Karamanlis enters room and sits at table.
CU PULL BACK Karamanlis seated at table with ministers.
Top View pan chanting Communist demonstrators assembled in Peristeri Square on 19 October waving Communist flags and banners (2 shots)
CU Communist leader Harilaos Florakis MP speaking from balcony
TOP VIEW PAN crowd cheering, chanting and applauding
Political observers have said Mr. Karamanlis's landslide victory in the last elections reflected not so much the popularity of his New Democracy Party as the desire of most Greeks for a smooth transition from military dictatorship to democratic rule. Mr. Karamanlis said he called the early elections so that the future Government would have a fresh popular mandate. This would make it better equipped to deal with the Cyprus issue, disputes with Turkey over territorial rights in the Aegean, and negotiations for full membership of the European Economic Community.
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Background: The Greek Parliament has been dissolved, and 19 of its 21 under-secretaries have resigned to make way for a caretaker government, which will control the country until general elections are held next month. Greek Prime Minister Constantine Karamanlis has called the elections a year early, because, he says, a Government with a fresh mandate would be in a better position to deal with the country's external problems.
SYNOPSIS: The Greek cabinet met in full for the last time in Athens on Friday (21 October), when a decree to dissolve Parliament was signed. The Ministers of Justice, the Interior, and of Northern Greece were replaced by caretaker ministers with no political affiliations. The under-secretaries handling European Common Market negotiations and Foreign Affairs were the only two not asked for their resignations.
Prime Minister Karamanlis made these moves in an effort to meet opposition demands for an impartial election. The main opposition party. Union of the Democratic Centre, had accused Mr. Karamanlis of a "constitutional coup" in calling the early elections. Opposition leader George Mavros complained that the job of calling elections falls to Greece's President Constantine Tsatsos, and the Greek press has speculated that Mr. Karamanlis hoped the early election would catch the opposition unprepared.
Campaigning has already begun, and last week thousands gathered in Athens Peristeri Square for a Communist Party rally.
Leader of the Moscow-line Communist party, and Member of Parliament Harilaos Florakis, spoke against business monopolies, and against what he called the Government's harmful policy of servitude to the Americans and to the European Common Market. His party holds five of eights Communist seats in Parliament, and claims to have increased its support among trade unions and student movements.
The communists were legalised only three years ago, when Mr. Karamanlis's New Democracy Party took over with a landslide majority, from the previous military dictatorship. The Greek press has predicted that Mr. Karamanlis will win again, and that Mr. Mavros's party will remain as its major opposition. The press believes the Left is too divided to gain a big vote.