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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-05-08
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 8 May 2012 Issue No: 4065
 ND fails to find coalition partner; mandate goes to SYRIZA on TuesdayIn a live televised statement on Monday evening, New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras said that his efforts to form a coalition government with any of the other parties elected to Parliament had failed and that he was handing back the exploratory mandate presented to him under the Constitution.
Samaras, whose party came first in Greece's general elections with 18.87 percent, visited President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias earlier on Monday and received the first three-day exploratory mandate in order to try and form a coalition government.
Samaras, in his televised statement on Monday evening after returning the mandate to President Karolos Papoulias on the creation of a government, stressed that "as I also said on Sunday night we cannot let Greece be ungoverned."
Samaras further said "and as I committed myself, I tried to find a solution for a national salvation government, with two aims: the country to stay in the euro and the policy of the memorandum to change, through renegotiating, with growth measures, for the recession to stop and society to be relieved.
"Being the first party, I received the exploratory mandate and I aimed at meeting with the party leaders in accordance with the election strength position of their parties.
-I met with Mr. (Radical Left Coalition - SYRIZA- leader Alexis) Tsipras, who did not accept, since he has committed himself on the effort for the creation of a government by parties of the Left.
-I then met with Mr. (PASOK leader Evangelos) Venizelos who proposed that a wider unity government take place with the participation, apart from ND and PASOK, of SYRIZA and the Democratic Left. I explained to him that SYRIZA has already rejected the proposal, while a little earlier Mr. (Fotis) Kouvelis of the Demcratic Left had also rejected it.
-We communicated with the office of Mr. (Independent Greeks party leader Panos) Kammenos, who refused all contact with us.
-Lastly I also telephoned to Mrs. (Aleka) Papariga Secretargy General of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and we agreed that there is no reason for us to meet, since her party disagrees with the European prospect.
"We did all that was possible with the Parliament's new composition. We extended our proposal to all the parties, that could participate in such an effort, but they either rejected their participation directly, or raised as a condition the participation of others. Who, however, do not accept.
We, however, as we were obliged, did all that was possisble.
We are, in any case, the only party that had warned that the policy of the memorandum will fail, due to the untold unhappiness that it caused. And this failure led to yesterday's (Sunday) result.
We were, also, the only party that, during the pre-election campaign, warned of the danger of the lack of governance.
This precisely that I tried to avert today as well. I did all that I could for there to be a result. However, it was impossible.
After this, I informed the President of the Republic and handed back the mandate," Samaras concluded.
The exploratory mandate will now be given to the head of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Alexis Tsipras, whose party came second in the elections with 16.78 percent of the vote, who has three days in which to try and form a government.
Under the current election law in Greece, which gives a 50-seat bonus to the first party regardless of its percentage, ND controls 108 seats in the 300-seat Parliament. This means that the two parties that agreed to the austerity programme and loan agreements, PASOK and New Democracy, cannot between them muster enough seats to form a government. Samaras has ruled out cooperation with the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn-Chryssi Avgi, which has not been invited to hold talks.
 Tsipras says 'no' to cooperation with NDRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras on Monday announced that his party has refused a proposal from New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras to form a coalition government.
Speaking to reporters, Tsipras said "Samaras' government platform is the very opposite of the alternative plan of governance advocated by the left," before flatly rejecting the likelihood of cooperation with ND.
He said that during its election campaign SYRIZA had asked for the popular vote to allow the forces of the Left to form a coalition government that will rid the country of the memorandum, adding that his party's position is firm.
He underlined that he believes that the country's salvation passes through the rejection of the cruel economic measures imposed and only if recession and the looting of wages and pensions is stopped. He also said that the austerity measures should be abolished and be replaced by measures that will boost economy, combined with the taxation of accumulated wealth to ensure funds that will be channelled to the poor and the vulnerable.
Tsipras underlined that Samaras has signed the second memorandum and the new painful measures coming with it. He said that under these circumstances "there can be no government of national salvation considering that his (Samaras') signature and commitments, undertaken within the framework of the memorandum, do not constitute a salvation but a tragedy for the people and the country."
"We will not bring back through the window what was kicked out the door yesterday by the Greek people's vote".
He said his party will exhaust every possibility to reach an understanding, primarily with the forces of the left, leading to developments desired by the majority of the electorate.
 Venizelos meets ND leader, presents plan for 'pro-European' gov'tNew Democracy leader Antonis Samaras on Monday had a 15-minute meeting with PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, the second in a round of meetings with party leaders as he attempts to gain their support to form a coalition government. In statements afterward, Venizelos said he had used the meeting to present his party's proposal for a national unity government with the participation of all pro-European forces "who share in the responsibility for finding a political solution".
Venizelos said that Samaras had essentially repeated the statement he made last night, while he had an opportunity to present PASOK's five-point plan for a coalition government in more detail.
PASOK's leader specified that this government must include all the forces that favoured Greece's European orientation, including New Democracy, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and the Democratic Left, adding that PASOK was prepared to give a vote of confidence without making the participation of its own members in the government a condition.
Further clarifying this point, he explained that the result of Sunday's election showed that the electorate desired a change in the faces in government.
His third point was that the prime minister of the government should be a figure that was broad accepted and able to balance and combine different viewpoints while, preferably, expressing the new trend reflected in the election result.
Venizelos noted that, building on the foundation of a shared European orientation, it should be possible to arrive at a "minimum policy agreement" whose main focus would be to ensure that the country remained in the eurozone, since voters had also indicated their desire to stay in the euro. Within this limit, he added, there must be negotiation with Greece's EU partners on issues concerning the terms of the loan agreement and covering the country's financing needs.
His last point was linked to the form of a national plan for restructuring PASOK and what must be the government's minimum goal, saying the first target must be to extend the period of fiscal adjustment until the end of 2015, with gentler measures that did not include new taxes or further cuts to those with lower incomes and small pensions, the second to boost liquidity (especially by paying off the state's debts to the private sector, such as the 6.5 billion owed for VAT returns) and the third to unblock large public and private investments. Finally, he called for a raft of measures for a social safety net.
 KKE party leader Papariga refuses meeting with ND party leader SamarasCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga on Monday refused a meeting with New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras in the framework of exploratory mandates.
According to an announcement by KKE, Samaras communicated by phone with Papariga and requested a meeting in the framework of his contacts for the formation of a government.
Papariga replied that there is no topic of discussion for such a meeting, according to KKE's announcement.
 Democratic Left leader Kouvelis meets with SamarasDemocratic Left party leader Fotis Kouvelis reiterated the terms his party set before the elections, following a meeting with New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras on Monday. He said he wants a government of "extended popular and Parliamentary legitimacy", which will secure the country's place in the eurozone and a disengagement from the memorandum.
Kouvelis called on all political forces to clarify their stance on these two issues, while he added that a "disguised ND and PASOK government" will clash with the message of the elections and the mandate of the citizens, as he said.
 Samaras received by president; PM Papademos' statementsNew Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras stressed upon his arrival at the Presidential Mansion in Athens that the Greek people's decision is respected and the exploratory mandate process to form a government commences.
Samaras made the comment in response to an observation made by President Karolos Papoulias that the election campaign was hectic.
In a statement made earlier at noon during his meeting with the President, Prime Minister Lucas Papademos stressed that "everybody needs to make a great effort so that the people's sacrifices will not go to waste."
Papademos said addressing the President that "the cooperation government had a specific mission which was completed."
He pointed out that "we have covered a large part of the distance toward economic reform and sustainable development and it is very important to safeguard stability, confidence and solidarity necessary to complete the economic recovery effort."
 President Papoulias to receive SYRIZA party leader Tsipras on TuesdayPresident Karolos Papoulias will receive SYRIZA party leader Alexis Tsipras at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, to give him the second exploratory mandate for the formation of a government, after New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras, the first to have received such a mandate, failed to find coalition partner.
 'Independent Greeks' party satisfied with election showingThe Independent Greeks party parliamentary group will meet next week, chaired by Panos Kammenos, it was announced on Monday. The meeting is scheduled to take place before the swearing-in of the new parliament on May 17.
Expressing satisfaction for the election result, Kammenos underlined that his party will be the protagonist in the new political cycle that opens for the country, adding that "the main goal is to bring back ethics in politics and abolish the memorandums".
According to his associates, Kammenos does not intend to enter talks with New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras or PASOK's Evangelos Venizelos.
 KKE Central Committee makes initial evaluation of election resultsThe Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) convened on Monday and made an initial assessment of Sunday's election results, stressing that the reversal of the political scene, with the form it took through the election result, does not constitute a reversal of policy. The party will make an overall assessment of the election results after the discussion that will take place at the party organisations.
The KKE reiterates the position that it will not participate in any government, while also pointing to the eventuality of the country being led to new elections soon and in this context, it notes, readiness is required.
According to a relevant announcement by the Central Committee, the election result leads to the strengthening of the trend for the revamping of the political scene, as it had been shaped for three decades, as an alternation of the New Democracy (ND) and PASOK in government, since these two parties sustained a heavy defeat. The reversal of the political scene with the form it took through the election result, does not constitute a reversal of policy, the Central Committee stressed and added that, under the justified indignation and wrath, the logic of punishment won and of the illusion that immediate solutions exist, from above through negotiations.
 Greek elections results with 99 percent of vote counted: ND leads, SYRIZA secondWith 99,1 percent of the vote counted, New Democracy was still in the lead with 18.88 percent with the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) in second place with 16.76 percent, according to nationwide election results announced by the Greek interior ministry via Singular Logic on Sunday night.
The percentages and seats received by each of the parties based on results so far was the following:
New Democracy 18.88 108 seats
SYRIZA 16.76 52 seats
PASOK 13.19 41 seats
Independent Greeks 10.6 33 seats
Communist Party of Greece 8.47 26 seats
Chryssi Avgi 6.97 21 seats
Democratic Left 6.10 19 seats
Based on the last count, the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) and Ecologists-Greens were still struggling to clear the 3 percent hurdle needed to get a seat in Parliament. If neither party gets into Parliament, roughly 18 percent of the electorate will have cast their vote for a party not represented in Parliament. A further 35 percent abstained from the election entirely.
The results show that no party can form a majority government, even with the 50-seat bonus given to the winner ND, which means that the President of the Republic must now give each of the top three parties in turn a three-day exploratory mandate in which to try to form a coalition government before the May 17 deadline when the Parliament arising from this election must be disbanded and new elections declared.
 ND, PASOK lose roughly 3.3 mln voters in 2012 electionOf more than half of the voters that went to the polls, roughly more than three million are former supporters of New Democracy (ND) and PASOK, the two political parties that suffered heavy losses in Sunday's general elections, both in terms of percentages and number of votes compared with the 2009 elections.
ND received 1,191,052 votes (18.85 pct) and 108 seats in Parliament, compared to 2009 when it received 2,295,719 votes (33.47 pct) and 91 seats. Despite the fact that it received less votes (1,104,667) compared to 2009 it will have more seats in Parliament (17 seats).
PASOK received 832,777 votes (13.18 pct) and 41 seats, compared to 2009 with 3,012,542 votes (43.92 pct) and 160 seats. Namely, it received roughly one-fourth of the votes and one-fourth of the seats.
During the 2009 general elections, SYRIZA had received 315,665 votes (4.60 pct) and 13 seats compared to 1,060,411 votes (16.78 pct) and 52 seats it received in Sunday's elections. SYRIZA is represented in Parliament with almost half the seats of ND despite the fact that it received only 130,641 votes less than ND.
 Papoulias briefed on final elections resultsOutgoing parliament president Filippos Petsalnikos on Monday delivered the final results of Sunday's election results to President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.
Leaving the presidential mansion afterwards, Petsalnikos said that this is the hour of critical decisions and responsibility for Greece and the citizens, and that all the political leaders must assume the responsibility of these decisions.
The meeting marked the start of the exploratory mandates procedure foreseen by the Greek Constitution.
Papoulias, on his part, said "It is in my nature to be optimistic".
 ND takes 6 of 8 single-seat constituenciesNew Democracy (ND) took six (6) of the total eight (8) single-seat constituencies in Sunday's parliamentary elections, while the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) took one each.
ND took the since-seat constituencies of: Grevena, Evrytania, Zakynthos, Thesprotia, Lefkada and Fokida.
SYRIZA took Cephallonia and the KKE took Samos.
 High-profile PASOK ministers, cadres, voted out of parliamentSome of the most high-profile members of PASOK -- incumbent and former ministers and cadres -- were voted out of parliament in Sunday's general elections.
In the wider Athens region, PASOK deputies that were not re-elected included Anna Diamantopoulou, Yiannis Ragoussis,
Dimitris Reppas, Anna Dallara, Athina Dretta, Petros Efthymiou, Nassos Alevras, Christos Papoutsis, Pavlos Geroulanos, George Papaconstantinou, Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou, Grigoris Niotis, Rodoula Zissi, Pantelis Economou, George Koutroumanis, Melina Apostolaki, Telemachos Chytiris, and current parliament president Filippos Petsalnikos.
 Greece must continue reforms, Merkel saysBERLIN (AMNA - F. Karaviti)
Commenting on the results of Greek general elections, German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday underlined the fundamental importance that Greece continue the programme of austerity measures and structural reforms agreed with the previous government in return for bailout loans.
Speaking after a meeting of her party in Berlin, she also noted that she was looking forward to her first meeting with the new French president Francois Hollande.
 U.S. on Greek electionsNEW YORK (AMNA/P.Panagiotou)
The U.S. government remains committed to a further cooperation with Greece on regional as well as world issues, looking forward to the formation of a cooperation government in the coming days.
According to a State Department spokesman, Greece's political parties are working this week for the formation of a cooperation government.
A White House spokesman, commenting on Sunday's Greek general elections, said that what matters is stability in Europe.
 EPP President Martens expresses support to ND leaderBRUSSELS (AMNA / M. Aroni)
European People's Party (EPP) President Wilfried Martens on Monday expressed full support to New Democracy (ND) and its leader Antonis Samaras in forming a coalition government.
Martens congratulated Samaras for his party's showing in the election and pointed out that the ND leader has expressed his intent to form a "national salvation government to safeguard Greece's position in the Eurozone".
"I fully support Antonis Samaras' efforts to keep Greece firmly anchored in the European project," the EPP President underlined.
Referring to the ultra-right representation in the Greek Parliament, he added that "this development is a worrying sign, not only for Greece but also for Europe. Thus, this development must serve as reminder to all the mainstream political families in the EU to step-up our efforts in combating the extremes. In this respect, I commend the position of Antonis Samaras to isolate the extremes."
 IMF declines to comment on Greek election resultsNEW YORK (AMNA - P. Panagiotou)
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials on Monday avoided commenting on the results of general elections in Greece on Sunday, saying that no one could make statements on behalf of the IMF without prior approval.
In an announcement, the IMF clarified that it will make no comment until a government is formed in Greece, with which they hope to have contact, noting that talks are currently underway in Greece on forming a coalition government.
 Albanian PM Berisha congratulates ND leader Samaras on election victoryTIRANA (AMNA/I. Pacho)
Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha in a warm message congratulated New Democracy (ND) party president Antonis Samaras for Sunday's victory in the general elections.
"I have my profound conviction that in voting for you for the helm of the governance of their country, the Greek voters have made the most correct choice for the future of your country," Berisha said in his message.
"On this occasion I wish to assure you that I remain absolutely determined for a close and multiple cooperation between our two political forces and of our countries for the benefit of the two peoples, as well as the region in general," he said.
Berisha also expresses his desire to meet Samaras in Tirana in the near future.
 SEV president on election resultFederation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEV) President Dimitris Daskalopoulos, commenting Monday on the results of Sunday's elections, proposed a new election date if exploratory mandates do not lead to the formation of a government with the participation of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA).
He called the latter the "big winner of the elections."
Daskalopoulos noted, however, that a government could emerge from new elections, but it is doubtful whether this will offer to the country a direction, something which, as he said, can result from the re-establishment of the political system.
He termed the election result as a "vote of rage, an anti-memorandum vote and a punishing vote."
 Stocks plunge 6.67% on political worriesUncertainty over political developments in the country, in the aftermath of Sunday's general elections, undermined sentiment in the Athens Stock Exchange and pushed share prices sharply lower. The composite index of the market plunge 6.67 pct to end at 643.87 points, reflecting heavy losses in bank shares.
Market participants said the outcome of the elections was the worst expected as it could lead the country to political paralysis with direct effects for the market and the banking system.
The index fell as much as 8.28 pct during the session. Turnover was an improved 45.853 million euros. The Big Cap index ended 7.96 pct down, the Mid Cap index dropped 8.40 pct and the Small Cap index ended 4.92 pct lower. All sectors ended lower with the Raw Materials (15.56 pct), Financial Services (13.82 pct) and Banks (12.61 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day. Eurobank (19.37 pct), Alpha Bank (19.23 pct), Mytilineos (17.6 pct), Hellenic Postbank (16.27 pct) and Cyprus Popular Bank (15.79 pct) were top losers among blue chip stocks. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 104 to 18 with another 19 issues unchanged.
Sato (19.48 pct), Technical Publications (18.85 pct) and Lambrakis Press (18.75 pct) were top gainers, while Inform Lycos (23.86 pct), GEK (20.54 pct) and Altec (20 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -5.35%
Personal & Household: -2.70%
Raw Materials: -15.56%
Travel & Leisure: -6.95%
Food & Beverages: -2.11%
Financial Services: -13.82%
The stocks with the highest turnover were OPAP, National Bank, Alpha Bank and Bank of Cyprus.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 0.84
Public Power Corp (PPC): 2.14
HBC Coca Cola: 14.50
Hellenic Petroleum: 5.22
National Bank of Greece: 1.55
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.51
Bank of Piraeus: 0.23
 Greek bond yield spread widens significantlyGreek bond yields came under strong pressure in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, hit by uncertainty over efforts to form a new government in Greece combined with an election victory by Socialist Francois Holland in France. This uncertainty is favoring German bonds, which are currently trading at historic low levels, while on the other hand regional bond markets were extremely volatile.
The Greek 10-year benchmark bonds was yielding 22.6 pct in midday trading, up from 20.64 pct on Friday, while the yield spread against the 10-year German Bund widened to 21.03 pct.
 Greek bond closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened sharply to 21.28 pct in the electronic secondary bond market on Monday, from 19.07 pct on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 22.85 pct and the German Bund 1.57 pct. Turnover in the market was a thin 1.0 million euros (one sell order).
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.28 pct, the six-month rate 0.98 pct, the three-month rate was 0.69 pct and the one-month rate was 0.39 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 1.07 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover at 12.652 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 5,097 contracts worth 6.050 million euros, with 24,237 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 65,557 contracts worth 6.599 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (23,411), followed by National Bank (18,458), MIG (912), OTE (900), PPC (1,732), OPAP (533), Piraeus Bank (1,056), Cyprus Bank (14,896), Marfin Popular Bank (899), Mytilineos (801), Hellenic Postbank (225), ATEbank (159), GEK (507), Ellaktor (147) and Intralot (404).
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.322
Pound sterling 0.818
Danish kroner 7.548
Swedish kroner 9.044
Japanese yen 105.75
Swiss franc 1.219
Norwegian kroner 7.677
Canadian dollar 1.317
Australian dollar 1.298
 Caretta-caretta turtles found dead on beach in northeast GreeceEvros River Delta National Park officers found 13 dead caretta-caretta sea turtles and a dolphin, all in an advanced state of decomposition, during a routine patrol on Apalos Beach near Alexandroupolis, northeast Greece, on Monday.
The turtles had been washed ashore in the past 24 hours, along a 7-kilometer-long stretch between Apalos Beach and Lakki Lagoon.
The investigation underway is expected to lead to the causes of the mass deaths. According to national park officers, the phenomenon is unprecedented in the region.
 Super League playoffsAEK Athens beat Panathinaikos Athens 2-0 and Atromitos Athens drew 1-1 with PAOK Thessaloniki in Super League playoffs held on Monday.
Panathinaikos 5 points
 Cloudy on TuesdayCloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday. Winds 3-6 beauforte. Temperatures between 11C and 31C. Slightly cloudy in Athens with northerly 3-5 beauforte winds and temperatures between 17C and 30C. Cloudy with local showers in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 13C and 28C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe results of Sunday's general elections and the upsets in the political system as well as the parties' efforts to form a government, dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Elections of huge wrath".
AVGHI: "Left order".
AVRIANI: "Triumph of the people and Tsipras (Alexis, SYRIZA party leader)".
DIMOKRATIA: "Antonis (Samaras, New Democracy leader) where are you going?".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "People's wrath: Change the Memorandum!".
ESTIA: "Election outcome leads to total impasse".
ETHNOS: "Vote of rage upsets the political scenery".
IMERISSIA: "The country in limbo - Time of responsibility for national agreement".
KATHIMERINI: "In search of a government - Historic collapse of the mainstream parties".
KERDOS: "Government of national unity".
LOGOS: "Message sent".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "In political uncertainty after the punishment vote".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Communist Party (KKE): In the front line of the struggle against the new anti-labour storm starting from today".
TA NEA: "Lack of governance nightmare and ...new ballots on the horizon".
VRADYNI: "Austerity's defeat in Greece and France".
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