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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-04-11
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Turkey- Ecevit- Congratulations-Simitis11/04/2000 21:42:04
ANKARA (ANA/Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit congratulated Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Tuesday on his re-election, stressing that Turkey was ready to work to further improve ties with Greece.
"I want to present my sincere congratulations to Your Excellency for your re-appointment as the Greek Prime Minister and for the success your party has shown in the general elections," Ecevit said in his message.
"I want to confirm that the Turkish government is ready to take further steps through joint efforts in order to put relations between our countries on a better level," he said.
"I present my personal best wishes for health and happiness to Your Honour and for the success of the new Greek Government," said Ecevit.
Turkey's outgoing President Suleyman Demirel sent a similar message to Simitis.
 Africa-Greece-Aid-Medicines Sans Frontiers11/04/2000 21:00:27
The Greek chapter of ?Medecins Sans Frontieres? requested the support of other organisations and the media, as well as Greek citizens, for its new initiative aimed at providing aid in African regions.
According to a press release the first initiative will focus on hunger relief for southern Ethiopia, with the collection of money and foodstuffs from Greek people.
Meanwhile, the organisation appealed to the foreign affairs and defence ministries and to the mass media for assistance.
?Medecins Sans Frontieres? will operate feeding and surgery centres in the ?Jing? area of South Ethiopia.
 Foreign Exchange Rates-Wednesday11/04/2000 18:49:57
Following are indicative foreign exchange rates for commercial banks released by the central bank for the next working day
Wednesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar 345.762
 Final results - Election - 200011/04/2000 18:31:11
Greece¢s interior ministry on Tuesday announced the final results from Sunday¢s general elections in the country, which led to the re-election of incumbent Premier Costas Simitis and PASOK by 1 percent over a rival New Democracy party led by Costas Karamanlis.
Specifically, first-place PASOK gained 43.79 percent of the general vote, namely, 3,007,947 votes generating 158 seats in Greece¢s 300-member Parliament.
New Democracy, the main opposition in the next Parliament term, earned 42.73 percent · 2,935,242 votes and 125 deputies.
The Communist Party of Greece came in a distant third with 5.53 percent of the vote · 379,517 ballots cast in its favor and 11 deputies in Parliament.
The Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos), meanwhile, edged over the 3-percent mark needed for representation in Parliament by gaining 3.2 percent nationwide · 219,918 votes and six deputies.
Finally, the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) failed to re-enter Parliament, as it posted a disappointing 2.69 percent, or 184,586 votes.
Total voter turnout was 7,027,007, of which 6,868,484 ballots cast were valid. Votes left blank totaled 47,134.
Figures for the other parties are as follows:
Democratic Regional Union · 0.47%, 32,070 votes
Centrists' Union · 0.34, 23,228
Demosthenes Vergis-Greek Ecologists · 0.3, 20,441
National Alliance · 0.21, 14,702
Front Line · 0.18, 12,108
Radical Left Front (ME.R.A) · 0.12, 8,132
Communist Party of Greece (M-L) · 0.11, 7,301
Hellenism Party · 0.09, 6,269
Marxist-Leninist - Communist Party of Greece Left · 0.09, 5,869
Alternative Ecologists · 0.05, 3,317
Liberals Party (not affiliated with Stephanos Manos¢ Liberals party) · 0.03, 2,093
Militant Socialist Party of Greece (ASKE) · 0.03, 2,027
The Self-Sufficient Movement of National Policy (AKEP) · 0.02, 1,144
Organisation for the Restructuring of the KKE (OAKKE) · 0.02, 1,126
Other parties · 0.01%, 933 votes.
 Weather Forecast-Wednesday11/04/2000 18:12:15
Scattered cloud is forecast throughout the country on Wednesday, gradually turning to rain and storms. An improvement in the weather is expected from evening.
 Simitis - Government composition - Meetings11/04/2000 17:52:47
Greek Prime Minister-elect Costas Simitis continued successive rounds of contacts with high-ranking PASOK cadres and ministers on Tuesday, prior to his announcement of the new government¢s composition -- expected either on Wednesday or Thursday.
General elections on Sunday resulted in the narrow, just more than 1 percent, re-election of Costas Simitis and his PASOK party over New Democracy and Costas Karamanlis. Ruling PASOK pulled in 43.79 percent of the total vote to ND¢s 42.73 with 100 percent of the votes tallied by Monday.
On Tuesday, Simitis met with Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and ex-interior minister Vasso Papandreou, while other meetings with top PASOK cadres, including Akis Tsohatzopoulos, Costas Laliotis and Paraskevas Avgerinos, are planned.
After a one-hour meeting with Simitis, Papantoniou told reporters that the course of negotiations for Greece¢s inclusion into Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) was discussed. He also declined to answer questions on whether Simitis will re-appoint him to the all-important national economy portfolio.
 Alpha Credit-Ionian Bank-merger11/04/2000 16:32:34
Alpha Credit Bank's shareholders on Tuesday approved a merger plan with Ionian Bank, paving the way for the legal completion of the merger between the two financial institutions into a single bank, called Alpha Bank.
Ionian Bank shareholders are expected to approved the plan in their scheduled general meeting April 18.
An Alpha Credit Bank's general shareholders' meeting also approved a plan for a bond issue, worth up to three billion euros, the implementation of a stock options programme for its executives and extending the bank's charter up to the year 2100.
A decision to grant one new share for every two existing shares, envisaged in a share capital increase scheme following the two banks' merger, will be taken in an extraordinary shareholders' meeting, May 22.
Addressing the meeting, Alpha Credit's chairman Yiannis Costopoulos noted that an effort to integrate the two banks' staff has already begun and the it was expected to move at a quicker pace in the next few months.
He stressed that merger procedures were moving rapidly particularly in the sectors of securities and mutual funds' management.
Commenting on press reports of an equity partnership with National Bank of Greece, Costopoulos said that the two banks were cooperating with Hellenic Telecoms in a project to create a smart card business. "This partnership did not mean anything more than that," he said.
Costopoulos said he expected the bank's first quarter results to be positive.
 ADEX-close11/04/2000 16:14:39
Derivatives prices ended lower on Tuesday following losses in the two benchmark indices, FTSE/ASE 20 and FTSE/ASE 40.
A total of 682 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index, with a turnover of 3.5 billion drachmas. The April expiring contract ended at 2,734 points, the May at 2,749, the June at 2,755 and the September contract at 2,800 points.
A total of 1,147 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 40 index, worth three billion drachmas. The April expiring contract ended at 680 points, the May at 681.50 and the June contract at 685 points.
 Election result - Cliffhanger - Yiannopoulos11/04/2000 16:14:32
Two noteworthy intra-party election battles, both in the greater Athens area, continued on Tuesday as the last votes will apparently determine in both cases which candidates will join the 300-member Greek Parliament.
General elections on Sunday resulted in the narrow, around 1 percent, re-election of Costas Simitis and his PASOK party over New Democracy and Costas Karamanlis. Ruling PASOK pulled in roughly 43.8 percent of the total vote to ND¢s 42.7, with almost 100 percent of the votes tallied by Monday.
In Athens¢ second election district -- the country¢s largest -- ballots from 259 precincts remained to be counted to determine which PASOK candidate would finish in 18th place, the last spot guaranteeing a Parliament seat for the party coming in first.
Controversial long-time PASOK cadre and minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos was ahead of Theodoros Katsanevas, also a deputy in the last legislative term, by 1,086 votes on Tuesday afternoon.
The octogenarian Yiannopoulos, a past president of the Athens Bar Association, served as justice minister in the last Simitis government (1996-2000). His term as justice minister was punctuated with several high-profile court battles with detractors, a series of feisty television appearances as well as a startling recovery from prostate surgery.
Katsanevas, on the other hand, is the son-in-law of PASOK founder Andreas Papandreou -- he married the latter¢s daughter -- and the brother-in-law of George Papandreou, the foreign minister in the previous government.
PASOK will elect 18 deputies from Athens' 2nd district to ND¢s 15.
Meanwhile, in Athens¢ first election district and on the New Democracy side, veteran ND deputy and noted legal scholar Anna Psarouda-Benaki was ahead of twice-before deputy candidate and physician Maria Kara by 497 votes for the ninth and last position New Democracy is allocated in the district. PASOK will place eight deputies in Parliament from Athens¢ first district. Less than 100 precincts remained to report on Tuesday afternoon to determine that election result.
New Parliament, government
Members of the new Parliament emanating from Sunday¢s election will be sworn-in on April 20, with its presidium to be elected the following day. On April 22, Prime Minister-elect Costas Simitis will unveil his new government¢s policy statements, while a vote of confidence is set for April 24.
 ASE-close11/04/2000 15:48:37
Equity prices ended lower on Tuesday as investors - small and institutional - remained on the sidelines awaiting the formation of the new government and the policy statement by Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
Trading conditions were subdued with turnover at 104 billion drachmas.
Dealers said smaller capitalisation stocks remained in demand while medium capitalisation stocks came under pressure.
The general index ended 0.51 percent lower at 4,916.25 points, off the day's lows. The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended at 2,777.03 points, off 0.42 percent and the FTSE/ASE 40 index fell 1.40 percent to 684.79 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 911.61 points, up 2.93 percent.
 Bond auction-results11/04/2000 15:30:22
Bond yields dropped moderately during Tuesday's regular state securities' auction by the Public Debt Management Organisation.
The average weighed yield in a 12-month state bill issue, worth 40 billion drachmas, fell to 6.35 percent from 6.65 percent in the previous auction of same bills on February 29, reflecting the country's short-term interest rates convergence ahead of its EMU entry.
Bids submitted totalled 168 billion drachmas, more than four times the asked sum. The organisation finally accepted bids totalling 48 billion drachmas.
The average weighed price of the issue was 94.033 points.
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