|Sunday, 18 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-05-14
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 14 May 2012 Issue No: 4070
 President's meeting with 3 party leaders ends, deliberations to continuePresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias' meeting with the leaders of the top three parties emerging from the inconclusive May 6 general elections ended after 90 minutes on Sunday, in the first stage of the President's deliberations with the seven elected parties to forge a coalition government.
No statements were made after the meeting, save for a terse "the deliberation is continuing" from New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras, whose party placed first in the May 6 elections but fell drastically short of a majority in the 300-member unicameral parliament, with just 100 MPs.
The three party leaders -- Samaras, Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras whose party placed second, and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, whose party placed third -- were due to make statements later from their parties' headquarters.
The President's deliberations will resume on Sunday evening with individual meetings with the leaders of the other four parties elected to parliament in last Sunday's elections.
The first one-on-one talks will be at 7:30 p.m. with Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos, whose party placed fourth in the elections. This will be followed with separate talks with Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga, ultra-right Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) leader Nikos Mihaloliakos, and Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis, the 5th to 7th parties respectively.
 Samaras: SYRIZA did not heed the people's mandateNew Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras sharply attacked Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras on Sunday, speaking from his political office shortly after a meeting called by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias with the leaders of the top three parties emerging from the inconclusive May 6 general elections, effectively accusing Tsipras of torpedoeing the effort to form a coalition government.
Samaras said that he has made every effort for a solution to be found and for a government to be formed.
"SYRIZA did not hear the people's mandate, it does not accept to support a government, and does not provide even tolerance for a re-negotiation of the Memorandum to begin. I honestly don't know where SYRIZA is going," Samaras said.
 Tsipras: SYRIZA will not become an accomplice in a government that will implement the MemorandumThe Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), which came in second in the inconclusive May 6 general elections, will not become an accomplice in a government that will implement the Memorandum, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said early Sunday afternoon, after President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias' meeting with the leaders of the three top parties that also included first-placed New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras and third-place PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos.
Tsipras, who said he was addressing himself to the "national audience" and not the narrow party audience, said that "in the name of our patriotic duty, we will not become accomplices to the crime against the Greek society".
He said that "those who governed us, implementing a programme of dissolution of the society, did not receive the message of the elections" and are also presenting themselves as its defenders and continuing to intimidate and coerce the people.
"But the people, who are being so sorely tried, can no longer be coerced," Tsipras said, and accused ND, PASOK and the Democratic Left (DIMAR) party of having agreed on a programme framework for implementation of the Memorandum.
"They have the arithmetic majority in parliament, let them proceed," he said, adding that their adamant demand for SYRIZA's participation "is irrational and unprecedented".
"They are not seeking a parliamentary majority from us, they have it themselves. They are asking us to ignore the people's verdict, to consent to the mistake, namely to continuation of the destruction of the society and the economy," Tsipras continued.
SYRIZA, he said, was not saying post-electorally something different from what it said before the elections, but is bound by the people and the mandate they gave in the elections.
"I explained that the country's problem continues to be the dis-harmony between policy and the people's verdict. So long as they insist on the policy of the Memorandum, they will not ensure stability," Tsipras warned.
He called on the Greek people, and not only those with Left leanings, to "once and for all condemn the powers of yesterday and realise that one hope remains: the people's unity against the blackmail in order to topple the barbarities", and assured that SYRIZA will not betray them and will do everything so as to keep this hope alive.
 Venizelos: 'Limited but real optimism'Despite the impasse in the first stage of President of the Republic's deliberation with the political party leaders, "I maintain a limited, but real, optimism" for the formation of a coalition government, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos told a gathering on Sunday of his party's candidate MPs in the May 6 general elections, in which PASOK emerged as the third party.
He said that the meeting of the leaders of the three top parties under the President of the Republic ended in an impasse, which he fully attributed to second-placed Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras.
Venizelos said that PASOK, the front-placed New Democracy (ND) and the 7th-place Democratic Left (DIMAR) parties agree on the formation of a government with a tenure until the next European Parliament elections, which are due in June 2014.
He reiterated, however, that a condition for this is the agreement also of SYRIZA, the stance of which Venizelos criticised as "a new type of arrogant behaviour".
Venizelos said that despite the impasse, he personally holds some optimism for the formation of a government, but warned that every day that passes is a loss for the country.
He further expressed PASOK's full confidence in the President's handling, adding that his party is prepared even for the eventuality of new elections, which he said was what Tsipras is aspiring to.
The PASOK leader said that Tsipras told the leaders' meeting that new elections would not be catastrophic for the country, accusing him of mimicking ND's pre-elections tactic.
He noted that ND, PASOK and DIMAR agree to the formation of an ecumenical government, but on condition of SYRIZA's participation, given that the responsibility for the country's course must be distributed proportionally with the electoral outcome.
He also warned SYRIZA that the wrath of the electorate that was reflected in a specific way in last Sunday's elections could be reflected in an entirely different manner in the next elections.
Venizelos said that if someone wants to 'drag' the country to elections must also assume the responsibility for that, adding that lack of governance could lead the country to very serious problems, including with the execution of the budget.
Severely criticising Tsipras' stance, Venizelos stressed that the country has nothing to gain from repetitive elections, adding that "the hour of truth has arrived".
 Kammenos cites 7 proposals for support of 'ecumenical gov't'The leader of the newly formed Independent Greeks party, Panos Kammenos, on Sunday reiterated the need for the country to have a functioning government, following his meeting with the Greek president, who receives other political leaders the same day.
Kammenos, a former New Democracy deputy who left the party to form his own, picking up 10.60 percent of the vote in the May 6 election, also cited seven proposals for the participation of the party in any "special purpose ecumenical government," as he said.
Those proposals includes an immediate declaration by the Greek state of an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), a denunciation of the bailout terms (Memorandums), a re-examination of the loans acquired by the country since 1974, a unanimous commitment by the parties for a change in the law on ministers' liability, and, demanding war reparations for Greece's occupation in WWII by Axis forces.
He also demanded a briefing on the "real situation" vis-a-vis the economy, as he said, along with other issues.
 Papariga: Exploratory mandates to form gov't a shamCommunist Party (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Sunday emphasised that repeated "exploratory mandates" to form governments, given successively to at least three parties -- in the order in which they came on May 6 -- were merely "a show of mockery", ones that demonstrated the irresponsibility of those parties.
She spoke after a 35-meeting with President Karolos Papoulias, while continuing her sharp criticism of the parties tabling issues of governance.
"With the facts today, the people have an opportunity in their hands, to promote a strong KKE," she said in televised comments after exiting the presidential mansion.
 Controversial leader of Chryssi Avgi meets with presidentThe leader of the ultra-right Chryssi Avgi (Golden Dawn) party, Nikos Mihaloliakos, on Sunday called for the assumption of the prime minister's post of a distinguished personality, in statements after his meeting with Greek President Karolos Papoulias.
In statements after the meeting, the general secretary of the party said Chryssi Avgi will not give a vote or confidence or tolerance for any government that continues the Memorandum (bailout terms) policies.
 Second round of meetings with political leaders concludedDemocratic Left (DI.MAR) president Fotis Kouvelis concluded the marathon round of meetings held on Sunday by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias. No statements were made afterwards.
 Venizelos refers to 'historic' defeat for PASOKPASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos on Sunday spoke to party candidates in the recent May 6 election, calling PASOK's 13.18-percent showing "bad".
"PASOK is must, in every instance, became a genuine popular, patriotic movement, a genuine radical social initiative and a responsible, institutional party," Venizelos said.
In repeating his statement of a "dire, historic defeat" for PASOK, Venizelos said his party must comprehend the message sent by voters, adding that one result of the election showing was PASOK distancing from its supporters, due to the fact that "it gave a struggle for the country, the economy and future generations, only, in large part, without its grassroots, and often in opposition to it."
He also tabled several questions for those, as he said, who condemn the Memorandum (bailout terms), noting that "if what SYRIZA and Mr. Tsipras said before the election is summed up in the letter what he eventually sent to the heads of European institutions, then I would say 'much ado about nothing'. What Mr. Tsipras said in his letter is very lacking ad pale before the arguments we have presented, and which we have fought for in the Eurogroup, on the European Council, the IMF and with various European government," he said.
 Venizelos returns mandatePASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos on Saturday returned a mandate to form a government, after failing to come up with coalition partners, following a meeting with President Karolos Papoulias.
Papoulias reminded of Ecofin and the Eurogroup meetings this week, as well as upcoming NATO and EU Summits."
On his part, Venizelos told Papoulias that "New Democracy (ND), PASOK and the Democratic Left agree on the formation of a coalition government with a two-year mandate, and with the aim of keeping Greece in eurozone, but with drastic changes in the Memorandum ... However, the prerequisite is that SYRIZA participate in this government".
Venizelos added that he set these issues out during a meeting with SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, who did not provide an answer.
 DIMAR accuses Tsipras of 'political unethicality'The Democratic Left (DIMAR) party on Sunday afternoon accused Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras of 'political unethicality' over statements the latter made earlier in the day following a meeting convened by the President of the Republic with the leaders of the three top parties emerging from the May 6 elections in a bid to form a coalition government.
"Tsipras, in his statements after the meeting of the three party leaders, exceeded every limit of political sordidness," a DIMAR announcement said.
"Up until yesterday, he (Tsipras) was urging us to remain firm in our well-known position of not participating in a government without SYRIZA. Today, after the meeting, he stated that DIMAR has agreed with PASOK and ND for a government supporting the Memorandum. It is shameful. His obvious inability to justify his stance does not allow him to resort to slander and lies. That is political unethicality," DIMAR said.
 Opinion poll puts SYRIZA in first placeThe Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), which posted second in last Sunday's general elections behind New Democracy (ND), has taken the lead according to a Kapa Research opinion poll appearing in the weekend edition of To Vima newspaper.
To a question of which party they would vote for if repeat elections are held, 20.5 percent of the respondents selected SYRIZA against 18.1 percent for ND and 12.2 percent for PASOK, which placed third in the general elections, followed by the Independent Greeks (4th in the elections) with 8.4 percent, the Communist Party of Greece (5th) with 6.5 percent, the ultra-right Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn, 6th) and the Democratic Left (DIMAR, 7th) party.
Of the parties that did not get elected to parliament in the May 6 elections, 2.5 percent of the respondents chose the Ecologists-Greens, followed by Democratic Alliance with 2.5 percent as well, Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) with 2.4 percent, Dimiourgia Xana (Creativity Again) with 2.2 percent, and Drassi (Action) with 1.3 percent, while the undetermined/undecided vote was at 10.9 percent.
A sweeping 72 percent said that the parties must make mutual concessions and cooperate (to form a coalition government), while 22.9 percent want new elections in order for a self-sufficient government to be elected.
Further, 78.1 percent want the new government to do everything necessary for Greece to stay in the euro.
Asked which party, from among those elected to parliament in last Sunday's election, they want to participate in a coalition government, 72.6 percent singled out DIMAR, followed by SYRIZA with 68 percent, ND with 54.3 percent, PASOK with 52.9 percent, Independent Greeks with 47.7 percent, the KKE with 22.5 percent, and Chryssi Avghi with 8.0 percent.
Also, 61 percent of the respondents consider SYRIZA's proposal (for a Left government) a little or not at all realistic, while 55.3 percent consider necessary a rebuilding of the Center-Left, while 53.4 percent want a rebuilding of the Center-Right.
DIMAR leader Fotis Kouvelis continues to be the most popular political figure, followed by SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, outgoing interim prime minister Lucas Papademos, foreign minister and prominent ND cadre Dimitris Avramopoulos, Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos, health minister and PASOK MP Andreas Loverdos, ND leader Antonis Samaras, and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos.
Finally, 65.1 percent of the respondents consider that a rationale of 'punishing' ND and PASOK prevailed in the May 6 elections.
 Clashes between Panathinaikos and Olympiacos fans in IstanbulISTANBUL (AMNA)
Clashes between Panathinaikos and Olympiacos fans were reported on Saturday in central Istanbul. Fans of the two rival teams are in the Bosporus metropolis to watch the Euroleague Final Four basketball tournament, where both Greek teams play.
According to reports, some 100 Panathinaikos fans attempted to attack 10 rivals outside the Hagia Sophia Cathedral.
An Olympiacos fan was injured before police arrived at the scene.
Turkish police kept Olympiacos fans inside the monument, which today is a museum, in order to prevent further incidents, considering that a large number of Panathinaikos fans were in the court yard surrounding the Hagia Sophia.
 Robbers open ATM with explosivesRobbers blew up an ATM before dawn on Saturday and took all the cash inside the machine. The incident was reported in the coastal Oropos township, NE of Athens.
 Heroin lab located in AthensA heroin lab was located at the east Athens district of Pangrati on Saturday by police.
Authorities, acting on a tip-off, found the lab and arrested two Albanian nationals, aged 25 and 24, who allegedly distributed a large amount of heroin in the greater Athens area.
Officers found and confiscated seven kilos of heroin, three kilos of an unknown white powder, 150 euros in cash, three mobile phones, one car, two precision scales and a hydraulic compression press
 Athens' Sunday newspaper at a glancePresident of the Republic Karoloas Papoulias' meeting with the political party leaders at noon Sunday and the prospect of new general elections, and the European partners' warnings dominated the front pages of Athens' newspapers on Sunday.
AVGHI: "The people standing tall with the Left".
AVRIANI: "Tsipras (SYRIZA leader) the new Andreas (Papandreou, the late founder of PASOK and former prime minister)".
DIMOKRATIA: "Difficult hour".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Barrage of pressure, using the 30 billion euros tranche".
ETHNOS: "Russian roulette - Risk of 'crash' before the (new) elections".
KATHIMERINI: "The country on a dangerous path - The meeting under the President the last hope - Messages for exit from euro".
KERDOS: "The coffers drying up - State revenues plunge by half - Danger of State finding itself unable to make payments".
LOGOS: "Black-out vote leading country to new elections".
NIKI: "The plan for the drachma, and the agony over the deposits".
PROTO THEMA: "They pushed the button for the drachma".
REALNEWS: "Government sought with voice and clout - The country must not be led to extended lack of governance".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Everyone turn out for the KKE rally at 8:30 on Monday evening at the Pedion tou Areos park".
TO ARTHRO: "Chaos or salvation in Kouvelis' (Democratic Left leader) hands".
TO PARASKINIO: "Shocking report in favour of Greece - German journalists confirm the immense looting of the Greek funds by its lenders".
TO PARON: "Hours of agony, as the 'troika' coerces even with expulsion of Greece from the euro".
TO VIMA: "Agonizing bargaining under the threat of new elections and exit from the euro".
VRADYNI: "Greece's European prospect on the razor's edge".
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