Socialist government in Greece defeats censure


EARLY today Greece's Socialist government defeated a censure motion submitted in parliament by the conservative opposition to press the ruling party to quickly replace ailing Prime Minister, Mr Andreas Papandreou.

The 300 seat parliament, polled by voice vote, defeated the motion with 168 deputies against and 118 for, while 10 deputies abstained and four were absent.

The conservative opposition submitted the motion on Monday, saying the Socialists lacked the courage to replace their veteran leader and to end the political deadlock gripping the country.

Mr Papandreou (76), who founded the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) in 1974, was reported to be slightly improving yesterday after eight weeks in hospital on life support systems for lung and kidney failure.

The Socialists promised during the three day parliamentary debate to address the issue at a PASOK central committee meeting on January 20th and end the crisis within the month.