Monday, February 13, 2006

Papandreou Elected Head of Socialist International

"With your help, we will all work hard to keep the flame of social democracy burning. A flame of hope for this challenging world."

More than 350 leaders and representatives from some 110 political parties and organizations gathered in Athens for the Council meeting of the Socialist International (SI) on 30-31 January 2006.

Athens News Agency (ANA-MPA) reports (link here):
Athens, Jan 30, 2006. [...] George Papandreou was unanimously elected as the new president of the Socialist International, during a meeting here on Monday of the organisation's council.

Papandreou was the uncontested candidate for the position, following his official nomination by a SI working group, headed by Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero. The working group's recommendation was unanimously adopted in a show of hands vote.

In addressing delegates, Papandreou, the former Greek foreign minister, outlined what he called a vision for a better world and the central role that socialists have in such a prospect.

The PASOK leader cited an emphasis on greater freedom and democracy around the world, greater security, prosperity, equality and opportunities, but distinctly less poverty and hunger. "This will be a world that is more peaceful, with more cooperation," he said.

Papandreou added that the means humanity has at its disposal today can eradicate poverty, stop the "green house" effect, guarantee gainful employment, reduce infant mortality, improve healthcare, achieve equality between the sexes, include immigrants in local societies and stop the trafficking of drugs, weapons and people, among others.

Moreover, he outlined seven priorities for the organisation during his presidency, including:
  • "democratisation of globalisation", noting that it is impossible to "have true democracy in the world when there is a massive accumulation of capital and power in the hands of the few; when multinationals challenge the power of democratically elected representatives of the people; and when mass media is controlled by vested interests and big business"
  • Developing regional cooperation;
  • Uniting citizens in common action, saying that socialists must today "redefine the balance between productivity, social justice and freedoms", while he again voiced his support for the "Scandinavian model", as he said;
  • Relations between political parties and citizens;
  • Cooperation with the "society of citizens" and the creation of new alliances;
  • Gender equality, and finally,
  • Building peace around the world and resolving crises, especially terrorism.
"We won't eradicate terrorism unless we tackle the reasons that cause it (terrorism)," he underlined.

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