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21 April, 2000
In a message of condemnation on Thursday on the anniversary of the April 21, 1967 military coup in Greece which led to a seven-year dictatorship, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said "democracy is functioning in an exemplary manner in our country and there is no way for us to turn back."
"If the tragic period of the dictatorship taught us something it is that the country's role in the world is no foregone conclusion. The national tragedy of Cyprus, which is still pending, shows that threats always exist. Only national unity can make our country respected by friends and foes and only national consensus can lead us to a new era without defeats and losses, but with victories to a better future for us and our children," the message by Simitis and the ruling PASOK party's Executive Bureau said.
Main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos said: "Hellenism experienced moments of greatness and creation in the 20th century, as well as dark periods having a huge national cost. The April 21 dictatorship was the last, painful for Greek citizens and offensive for our political civilization, page in Greek political history."
"ND worked with responsibility during the post-junta era for reconciliation, the abolition of dividing lines, the consolidation of a qualitative democracy and the shielding of the democratic form of government. With its option to join Greece with the democratic European family, it strengthened stability and democracy in our country even further," he said.
In a similar message, the Coalition of the Left and Progress' Central Committee ascertained "an alarming increase in social and regional inequalities and the concentration of huge power in the hands of a powerful few", adding that such situations "attribute a contemporary meaning to struggles for social cohesion, democracy and transparency."
Source: Athens News Agency