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Greece

Yearbook 2009

Greece. In the October 4 parliamentary elections, the Socialist Party PASOK won 43.9 percent of the vote. According to countryaah, the party took 160 of the parliament's 300 seats and the new prime minister became former Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou. Conservative Nea Dimocratia, whose leader, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, had announced the election in order to gain a deeper mandate, made his worst choice of all time with 33.5 percent. The Nationalist Party LAOS (Folk Orthodox Collection), which profiled itself against immigration and Turkish EU membership, increased its number of seats from 10 to 15. The turnout was 71 percent. The election campaign was characterized by financial issues. While Karamanlis was advocating for cuts to reduce the country's budget deficit, Papandreou promised a stimulus package worth € 3 billion, including from the hunt for tax evaders.

2009 Greece

The dissatisfaction with the Karamanlis government was widespread because of the tightening policy, corruption suspicions against several ministers and the police death of a boy in Athens in December 2008. The dissatisfaction sometimes took violent forms. Police, military, banks, finance companies, media companies, car dealers and other international companies, especially in Athens, were subjected to a series of attacks during the winter, spring and summer. A hitherto unknown group, the Revolutionary Sect (SE), took responsibility for several of the attacks, including the assassination of a policeman on June 17 in Athens.

Greece's national debt grew to EUR 300 billion in December, or 113 per cent of GDP. The budget deficit was about 12.7 percent. The world's three largest credit rating agencies lowered the country's credit rating, which helped Parliament decide on major cuts, including social security, defense spending and public sector salaries. Some tax increases were also decided. Leftist organizations protested in large demonstrations.

In July, Kravall police leveled a refugee camp outside the city of Patras with the ground. The camp, where paperless immigrants have lived since 1996, had housed 1,800 residents, but most had either been arrested or left the camp more or less voluntarily in the weeks before the demolition.

Shipowner Pericles Panagopoulos was kidnapped in Athens on January 12 and released eight days later, after his family reportedly paid a ransom of € 30 million.

Forest fires raged in July and August in the mountains north of Athens, on parts of the Peloponnese peninsula as well as on Euboia, Zakynthos and other islands.

The new Acropolis Museum opened June 20 after five years of delays. The museum, located at the foot of the Acropolis cliff in Athens, houses 350 objects and sculptures from the ancient Parthenon Temple.

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