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Once popular Greek PM struggling to reconnect

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By Dina Kyriakidou

Once the most popular politician in Greece, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis
has seen his ratings decline, hit by a wave of scandals, party rebels and the world economic crisis.

As little as a year ago, he managed to turn his political fortunes around, winning elections after deadly forest fires, a feat admired by friends and foes alike.

His razor thin majority forebode political trouble ahead. But since September
he has suffered several major blows – losing two ministers suspected of
wrongful dealings, having to sack rebel deputies and dealing with a flurry
of protests over his handling of the economy.

“Lately, Mr Karamanlis appears to be losing power and takes no initiative to act. The political hegemony he has enjoyed since 2004, is now directly
challenged,” wrote commentator Antonis Karakousis in the major Athens daily Ta Nea.  ”The government appears to be at the mercy of events.”

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