|Monday, 19 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-05-09
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 9 May 2012 Issue No: 4066
 Tsipras receives mandate to form gov'tRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras arrived at the presidential mansion in Athens on Tuesday, at roughly 1 p.m. local time, to receive a mandate to form a government from Greek President Karolos Papoulias.
"The country is in need of a government," Papoulias said in greeting Tsipras.
"...this is a historic moment for the Left and a personal responsibility for me, if one considers that the previous mandate (received by a leftist party) was given to (late Communist Party leader) Harilaos Florakis. I would have had more chances of forming a government if we had a different election system or if I had received more votes. The people have decided, we must respect their verdict," Tsipras said.
New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras returned a mandate to form a government on Monday, unable to cobble together a coalition.
ND picked up a disappointing 18.85 percent of the vote in Sunday's election, while SYRIZA came in a surprising second with 16.78 percent.
In leaving the presidential mansion, he merely added that "we will do whatever we can to fulfill our goals."
 Tsipras rejects bailouts, will seek to form leftist governmentCoalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) party leader Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday underlined that he was still firmly committed to the attempt to form a leftist government, in statements after he received an exploratory mandate from President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.
In reply to proposals for a minority government led by SYRIZA and a 'vote of tolerance' from the erstwhile mainstream parties PASOK and New Democracy, Tsipras called on the leaders of PASOK and ND to actively demonstrate that they had changed their mind about the policies they followed until now by sending letters to the heads of EU member-states in which they make clear that they will not enforce the tough austerity demanded under the terms of the bailout loans.
Otherwise, he added, both parties should stop this discussion and stop trying to fool the electorate.
According to Tsipras, PASOK and ND had aligned themselves with the proposal put forward by the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), who called for a unity or national salvation government that would include SYRIZA.
SYRIZA's leader said that a government that implemented the terms of the bailout loans would not be a government of national salvation but a 'Memorandum' government that SYRIZA would have nothing to do with, emphasising that the Greek people had cast a conscious vote against austerity and bailouts. He stressed that the government that would arise could not be in disharmony with the popular vote, as it had been in the past two or three years.
"For us the issue is the direction this government will have and not just whether a government will be formed," he pointed out.
Tsipras said he would seek dialogue on an axis of five proposals, starting with the rejection of the terms of the bailouts, the abolition of recent laws on labour relations, the restoration of collective labour agreements, state control of banks and the creation of an international audit commission to investigate if Greece had odious debt, along with a moratorium on debt repayment until this investigation was complete.
In statements after leaving the presidential mansion, Tsipras had underlined that this was a "historic moment" for the Left, since the previous mandate received by a leftist party was given to the late Communist Party leader Harilaos Florakis during the elections of 1989-1990.
Tsipras was the second party leader to receive an exploratory mandate to form a government after Sunday's elections. The first went to New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras on Monday, who handed it back after just a few hours, unable to gain support for a coalition.
ND picked up a disappointing 18.85 percent of the vote in Sunday's election, down from a previous low of roughly 35 percent in 2009, while SYRIZA came in a surprising second with 16.78 percent.
 Democratic Left leader meets Tsipras, pledges support to leftist governmentDemocratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis said that he had pledged his support to a leftist government led by the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), during talks on forming a coalition government with SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday.
Specifically, Kouvelis said that he told Tsipras that he had the option, if he wanted, to proceed with the formation of a leftist government with the support of the Democratic Left and broader Parliamentary legitimisation.
He did not specify whether this also meant that the Democratic Left would participate in such a government.
Before the elections, the Democratic Left had said it would be opposed to a PASOK-New Democracy coalition government but would be prepared to consider a coalition that included PASOK but not ND.
Kouvelis said that he had urged Tsipras to handle the exploratory mandate he received from President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on behalf of society, which he said was seeking a solution. He repeated his party's position in favour of forming a government with broad popular and Parliamentary legitimacy that will encapsulate the clear message of the elections, noting that society and the country cannot make their way with a policy condemned by the citizens.
He repeated his position for breaking loose from the bailout agreements while remaining in the euro and making use of the more favourable European framework now emerging, adding that his party, through its position, was contributing so that a government might be formed without leading the country to new elections.
 ND leader attacks Tsipras, accuses him of paving way for return to drachmaIn a stinging attack on the head of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday, New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras accused the leftist leader of paving the way for a return to the drachma and urged him to "snap out of it".
"Hearing Mr. Tsipras' statements, we realised that he has no intention of guaranteeing Greece's European identity and prospect. He is simply interpreting, with unbelievable arrogance, the election result as a 'mandate' to lead the country into chaos," Samaras said.
Responding to the statements made by Tsipras after receiving an exploratory mandate to try and form a coalition government, which included a demand that ND's leader write to European leaders rejecting austerity imposed in the terms of bailout loans, Samaras accused him of populism and of essentially presenting voters with a choice between a European centre-right front or an anti-European front.
"I hope that by the time we meet tomorrow, Mr. Tsipras will have snapped out of it," he added.
ND's leader warned that Tsipras would find himself up against a united European centre-right front if he insisted on forming a leftist anti-European front.
"More than two years ago, we warned the supporters of the bailouts that their policies were demolishing the country. We will not now allow the supporters of populism to finish off its demolition," he stressed.
He also declared that ND had every "good intention" to lend its support to a minority government in which it did not participate, provided it was able to ensure that the country remained in the euro and defended its national interests.
Repeating that he respected the fresh verdict of the Greek people and did not want to lead the country to repeat elections, Samaras accused Tsipras of doing his utmost to prevent the formation of a government through his statements on Tuesday.
He was critical of Tsipras' call for an odious debt audit and other "extreme views" that he said would lead directly to default and Greece's exit from the eurozone.
"I remind him that privatisations are carried out everywhere throughout the world, even in China. Whereas re-nationalisations, as he proposes in his programme, do not take place anywhere! Nor is there money for him to carry them out," he added.
In order for Tsipras to do the things he proposed, Greece would have to quit the euro; and if Greece quit the euro, he would then be unable to do anything at all because the destruction of the society and economy would be certain and unprecedented, Samaras asserted.
Referring to the 'message' delivered by the electorate, ND's leader said that this was clear and had also been heard in Europe, while noting that the possibility of renegotiating the terms of the bailout was now realistic. "The issue is for the Greek people not to pay for the populism of some that present themselves as supporters of a European course for Greece when at the same time they are doing their utmost to undermine [this course]," he added.
"All those citing the result of the elections in order to dismantle the country should know that the people gave no one such a mandate. Mr. Tsipras is not asking me to take back my signature in the letter I sent to Europe, in which I candidly asked for modifications of the bailout agreement policies. He is asking me to put my signature to the destruction of Greece and this is something I will not do," Samaras stressed.
 PASOK leader Venizelos calls for calm, responsibility and good faith from political leadershipPASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos, in a statement on Tuesday, indicated that his meeting on Wednesday with the head of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Alexis Tsipras, who received an exploratory mandate from the President of the Republic on Tuesday, "will be substantive", while calling on the citizens to support PASOK's proposal on the formation of a government.
The PASOK leader stressed that what is being required in these moments from the political leaderships, "is the greatest calm, responsibility, good faith and generosity, that were lacking in the past unfortunately and have not appeared so far."
Venizelos said that he submitted the proposal from the beginning, based on the election result, for the formation of a national unity government with the participation of all the forces wanting Greece to stay in Europe and the euro, "a government with the participation of at least ND, SYRIZA, the Democratic Left and PASOK."
The PASOK leader added that "the tough and difficult negotiating does not take place in Greece, between the parties, with the gaze turned to the next elections, but outside, with the partners, with the creditors, with the markets, with the profiteers, with the pressures, with the interests, with the threats."
 KKE party criticises proposals presented by TsiprasThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE), in an announcement on Tuesday, criticised proposals presented on Tuesday by Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary Group leader Alexis Tsipras, that the memorandum and the loan contract will not be abolished by these proposals.
KKE believes that with the statements he made, Tsipras used for the next election campaign the mandate he received to form a government, "making individual proposals with a targeted pre-election proclamation to the most desperate in order to mislead them and snatch votes."
Tsipras, KKE stressed, "presented as being a pro-people exit, certain proposals that cover up the generalised anti-popular attack by the monopolies and their parties, the commitments that all the EU member-states have undertaken, as is the 'EU strategy 2020', policies that are incorporated in both the memorandum and the loan contract."
KKE added that Tsipras's proposals "say clearly that the working people will be called on again to pay a large part of the debt for which they are not responsible, while the people need the debt's writeoff."
 Communist Party's Papariga refuses meeting with TsiprasCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga has refused a meeting with Coalition of the Radical Left leader Alexis Tsipras, who is currently approaching the leaders of other parties in Parliament in efforts to form a coalition government.
Papariga was the first party leader contacted by Tsipras to arrange a meeting after he received the exploratory mandate, sources said, but she declined.
Tsipras has had a meeting with the head of the Democratic Left party Fotis Kouvelis, whose party has elected MPs to Parliament, while his next meeting will be with the Ecologists-Greens, who did not manage to clear the 3 percent minimum needed to elect an MP.
SYRIZA will announced the results of Tsipras' talks with other party leaders after the round of meetings has been concluded.
 Letter by Tsipras to Barroso, Rompuy and Draghi on change of policy towards GreeceRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary Group president Alexis Tsipras will call for the adoption of an alternative plan based on growth, employment and social protection in a letter he will be addressing on Wednesday to EU Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, EU president Herman Van Rompuy and European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi.
According to reliable sources,Tsipras will stress that the commitments that have been undertaken by the previous government cannot be valid from the moment that the Greek people have decried the policy of memorandums with their vote.
Tsipras will also point out that now the parties that signed the commitments, meaning PASOK and New Democracy, currently represent about 33 percent of the Greek people.
 European Parliament president Schulz intends to visit AthensEuropean Parliament president Martin Schulz intends to visit Athens for contacts with Greek politicians, including Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) head Alexis Tsipras.
Schulz, who met in Berlin on Tuesday with federal president Joachim Gauck, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Parliament president Norbert Lamert, and Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, stated that Greece needs a growth policy and an employment policy, but rejected however every possibility of the renegotiating of the terms of the fiscal stabilisation.
"If the fiscal accord is accompanied by growth incentives, it is possible that a majority can also be achieved in the Greek Parliament," Schulz said and added that "following the complicated outcome of the elections in Athens, it is important now for us to speak with the Greeks." He also stressed that "the aim is not for us to harm Greece and this is why the rest of the Parliamentary forces must also be certain of this."
 ND MP Spiliotopoulos calls for unity of center-right"Having a government is a priority," New Democracy (ND) MP Aris Spiliotopoulos on Tuesday said, pointing out that "obviously, mistakes have been made but this is not the time to talk about it".
Speaking to a private radio station, he stressed that ND should be united underlining that the forces that belong to the broader center-right added up to 19 pct of the vote. He stressed that the centre-right should join its forces regardless of whether a government will be formed or the country will have to go again to the polls.
He stressed that fragmentation creates dead ends "like the one we are experiencing not as political parties but as a country."
When called to name names he said that "all those who can respond to this invitation should be welcomed."
 Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce believes resorting to elections unavoidableHellenic American Chamber of Commerce president Yiannos Grammatidis proposed as an exit new and immediate elections, under the spectrum of postelection developments, stating that he is concerned over what is happening.
Grammatidis said in a statement that the Greek people, following the substantive political cleanup that they have already imposed with the recent election result, must be called on now to put an end with their wisdom to the prolonged uncertainty and to shape such correlations that will be able reliably and surely to bring the country to a stable orbit again.
However, he stressed that the people must also clarify how they understand the country's European orientation, since it is clear that the European orientation does not coincide with the breaking of our commitments towards our European partners and the clashing confrontation with them.
According to the president of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce, "we must decide now that the punitive procedure has ended and it must already give its place to the procedure of the serious as well as strong organising of the country's governance."
 Austrian Vice-Chancellor Michael Spindelegger says terms for Greece won't changeVIENNA (AMNA / D. Dimitrakoudis)
Vice-Chancellor of Austria, Michael Spindelegger, who is also foreign minister and leader of the Austrian People's Party (OVP), a partner in the ruling coalition government, on Tuesday said that the terms set within the framework of the European support mechanism for Greece cannot be altered because of the national elections held in the country.
In comments made after the weekly cabinet meeting here, he expressed concern about the situation in Greece "where the first attempt to form a government has already failed" and expressed the hope that a broad-based government will be formed to avoid new elections. He underlined that regardless of what the new government will look like, Greece should observe the agreements it has reached with the European Union.
He emphasized that it should be made clear that there will be no new negotiation on the fiscal agreement ruling out its abolition.
In statements made on Monday as regards the outcome of the Greek elections, Spindelegger had appealed to the political parties and their leaders who will negotiate a new government to display "realism", underlining that the situation in Greece is "dramatic". He had also underlined that Greece will not remain in the Eurozone if preconditions are not implemented strictly.
 EU chief on the election of "neo-Nazi party" to the Greek national parliamentThe European Commission will be particularly "vigilant" following the election of a "neo-Nazi party" to the Greek Parliament and utilize all mechanisms available against all those who violate human rights, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Tuesday, according to an AFP dispatch.
When asked about the high vote percentage gathered by Greece's far-right party Golden Dawn, Barroso told journalists that "we have to define what a neo-Nazi party is" and look at national legislation on the issue.
However, he said that as far as community law is concerned, the Commission will not hesitate to use all mechanisms available to act against those who insult community law and the fundamental human rights charter.
 Funeral of Marika Mitsotaki held in AthensThe funeral was held in Athens on Tuesday of Marika Mitsotaki, wife of former ND leader and ex prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis and the mother of Democratic Alliance leader and former minister Dora Bakoyannis and of New Democracy (ND) MP Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Marika Mitsotaki, nee Yanoukou, who died early Sunday, the day of critical general elections in Greece, will be buried in Hania, on the island of Crete, in the Yanoukou family tomb.
The funeral was attended by Constantine and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Bakoyannis, and the Mitsotakis couple's two other daughters, Alexandra and Katerina, her grandchildren, former prime minister and ex ND leader Costas Karamanlis, LAOS leader George Karatzaferis, defence minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, former minister Theodoros Pangalos, and many former and current MPs.
The eulogy was delivered by Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
 Ten-day spring offers by stores in downtown AthensThe Athens Traders Association on Tuesday announced that all stores in downtown Athens are invited to offer special discounts for ten days between Thursday, May 17 and Saturday, May 26.
The action is undertaken within the framework of the initiatives aimed at upgrading the city's commercial district and boosting consumption.
The Athens Traders Association initiative is a follow-up to "Friday in Athens" action and will have the support of the City of Athens and Technopolis S.A.
 Stocks remain under heavy pressureStocks ended significantly lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, remaining under heavy pressure on market uncertainty over political developments in the country. The composite index of the market fell 3.62 pct to end at 620.54 points, off the day's lows of 610.23 points. Turnover was a thin 41.717 million euros. The Big Cap index fell 4.44 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 4.14 pct lower and the Small Cap index dropped 3.88 pct.
All sectors ended lower with Banks (9.72 pct), Utilities (7.53 pct) and Health (7.18 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day. Hellenic Postbank (1.91 pct) and Motor Oil (0.18 pct) were the only blue chip stocks to end higher, while Alpha Bank (14.29 pct), Cyprus Bank (11.67 pct), Eurobank (10.16 pct) and Piraeus Bank (9.17 pct) were top losers.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 100 to 40 with another 17 issues unchanged. Inform Lycos (30 pct), Audiovisual (28.57 pct) and Unibios (19.23 pct) were top gainers, while Dromeas (18.78 pct), Altec (16.67 pct) and Alco Hellas (16.67 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -0.51%
Personal & Household: -0.80%
Raw Materials: -6.38%
Travel & Leisure: -0.40%
Food & Beverages: -2.81%
Financial Services: -5.79%
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: 0.72
Public Power Corp (PPC): 1.97
HBC Coca Cola: 14.10
Hellenic Petroleum: 5.17
National Bank of Greece: 1.42
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.46
Bank of Piraeus: 0.21
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened further to 21.70 pct in the electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, from 21.28 pct on Monday, with the Greek bond yielding 23.24 pct and the German Bund 1.54 pct. Turnover was 8.0 million euros, all sell orders.
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 0.69 pct and the one-month rate 0.39 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 2.08 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover at 14.079 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 6,819 contracts worth 7.887 million euros, with 23,216 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 70,489 contracts worth 6.192 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (27,632), followed by Cyprus Bank (19,281), MIG (1,773), OTE (1,412), PPC (2,132), OPAP (495), Piraeus Bank (1,622), National Bank (11,315), Marfin Popular Bank (858), Mytilineos (1,668), Hellenic Postbank (568), ATEbank (163), Intralot (147).
 Foreign Exchange rates - WednesdayReference 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 9.021
Japanese yen 105.57
Swiss franc 1.219
Norwegian kroner 7.673
Canadian dollar 1.316
Australian dollar 1.302
 Injuries, arrests, in shootout between police, bank robbers in KalamataThree policemen and a bank robber were injured in an exchange of fire in Kalamata on Monday night, while three suspects were arrested and two more were wanted, after a bank robbery earlier in the afternoon.
Two men wearing helmets and holding kalashnikov submachine guns broke an Emporiki bank branch's crystal door with a sledgehammer in downtown Kalamata shortly before 3:00 p.m., after the bank had closed to the public, and took 90,000 euros in cash from the cashier at gunpoint.
The bank robbers fled on a motorcycle, which was later found abandoned.
Later in the afternoon police brought in for questioning a young man considered to be a suspect in the robbery. Using the keys to an apartment found in the suspect's possession, police attempted to open the door to the apartment but two men who were in the apartment opened fire on them.
Police returned the shots, and three officers and one of the suspects were injured in the shootout.
It was later ascertained that the three suspects, who have been arrested, were involved in the bank robbery, while two more accomplices are wanted and a manhunt has been launched for them.
The four injured people were taken to Kalamata hospital, where the injured suspect remains under police guard, while two of the police officers who were injured more seriously were transferred to a hospital in Athens, where they are reported to be in non life-threatening condition.
 One more prostitute found HIV positiveHellenic Center for Disease Control & Prevention (KEEL.PNO) on Tuesday announced that another prostitute, a Romanian national, has tested HIV positive bringing the number of prostitutes with the AIDS causing virus to at least 25.
The young Romanian was among nine prostitutes that were tested for AIDS during ongoing health inspections conducted by KEEL.PNO officials in downtown Athens areas where illegal prostitution thrives.
 Thessaloniki Tourism Festival postponed for 2013Thessaloniki Professionals Chamber announced on Tuesday that the Tourism Festival scheduled to be held 18-20 May 2012 is being postponed for next year. The reasons of the postponement are the serious political developments in Greece following the May 6 general elections.
 Cloudy on WednesdayCloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday. Winds 3-6 beauforte. Temperatures between 11C and 29C. Cloudy with possible local showers in Athens with northerly 4-6 beauforte winds and temperatures between 16C and 28C. Cloudy with local showers in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 12C and 27C.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe exploratory mandates to parties in order to form a government and the possible scenarios, mostly dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Form a government !...".
AVGHI: "The people's mandate should not be adulterated".
AVRIANI: "Clear solutions with new elections on June 17."
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "A new recourse to ballots a painful choice".
ESTIA: "Political confusion".
ETHNOS: "Messages for government with the Left".
IMERISSIA: "Lack of governance terrifies - Samaras' effort sank".
KATHIMERINI: "Mandate to New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras fruitless".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Europe awaiting solution and insists on the agreement".
NIKI: "Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis as prime minister with Samaras' tolerance".
LOGOS: "New elections on the horizon".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Communist Party (KKE) a determinant power for the popular movement".
TA NEA: "Exploratory mandates a hot potato".
VRADYNI: "Deliberations frenzy with eyes turned to new elections".
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