In the run-up to Greece’s early general election, a homemade bomb has exploded outside the home of a senior member of the opposition socialist party. No one was hurt in the blast in Athens.
It comes the day after a key televised debate between the men vying for power. Socialist challenger George Papandreou outlined his plans to boost public spending to revive the country’s flagging fortunes. “We are talking about a different philosphy that will clean up and redistribute finances,” he said. Arguing that Greece is suffering less from the financial crisis than other countries, conservative Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis defended his record on the economy. Social programmes for the unemployed had been supported to the tune of more than three billion euros, he said. Trailing in the opinion polls, the premier’s performance and that of his rival failed to impress some of those watching. In an Athens coffee shop where he followed the debate, Alexandros Hadzalas said that actions not words count. “When I hear them talking to each other it is like a tennis match,” he said. “They keep throwing the blame at each other. Every year it is the same, talk, talk, talk but nothing is ever done for the people.” Initially holding up better than many other nations during the global downturn, Greece is now on the verge of recession as confidence and tourism slump.