Greek Prime Minister Constantine Karamanlis opened his election campaign with a mass rally in the northern Greek city of Salonica on Sunday (23 October).
SCU Greek premier Constantine Karamanlis speaking to crowd from balcony of building, Salonica, Greece
GV Crowd, waving banners, chanting
SCU Karamanlis continues speech
GV Crowd listening and cheering (5 shots)
GV PAN FROM Karamanlis at balcony speaking to crowd chanting and waving banners
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Background: Greek Prime Minister Constantine Karamanlis opened his election campaign with a mass rally in the northern Greek city of Salonica on Sunday (23 October). He said he was seeking a fresh mandate for his ruling New Democracy Party one year early because the country faced important national issues.
SYNOPSIS: About 60,000 people gathered in the city's main square to hear the Prime Minister. Mr. Karamanlis referred to what he described as "the continuing tragedy of Cyprus" and said Greece would increase its support to the island. He said Greece's "dangerous dispute" with neighbouring Turkey, and the negotiations for Greek membership of the European Economic Community, would both enter critical phases during the coming year.
The Prime Minister told the cheering crowds that only his party could provide a government strong and experienced enough to handle such issues. And they needed to be handled by a government armed with a fresh popular mandate which would increase its prestige and negotiating power.
His speech was repeatedly interrupted by the chanting and banner-waving crowd.
The Greek Parliament has been dissolved and a new 300-member Parliament will convene on December the 12th.
Mr. Karamanlis, who assumed power in July of 1974 after the collapse of the country's military dictatorship, said Greece belonged to the democratic West. Outlining his government's foreign policy, he said it had done whatever it could to help Cyprus after the Turkish invasion of more than three years ago.
The Greek-Turkish dispute over territorial rights in the Aegean, he said, had gone through various dangerous phases during the last three years. Greece handled these phases with both determination and wisdom, even when the country had been brought to the "threshold of war".