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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-04-10
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 PRESIDENT WILL GIVE THE MANDATE TO SIMITIS TODAYAthens, 10 April 2000 (11:40 UTC+2)
President Kostis Stephanopoulos is expected to give the mandate to form a government to socialist party of PASOK leader Kostas Simitis later today.
PASOK was re-elected to power with 43.78% of the votes and won 158 seats in parliament, followed by the conservative party of New Democracy with 42.88% and 125 seats, the Communist Party 5.5% and 11 seats, Coalition of the Left 3.2% and 6 seats, while the Democratic Social Movement got 2.7% of the vote and therefore it is left outside the parliament.
 MAIN OPPOSITION LEADER SEES VICTORY IN DEFEATAthens, 10 April 2000 (03:10 UTC+2)
The leader of the conservative main opposition New Democracy Costas Karamanlis saw a ray of victory in his party's defeat, one by an admittedly narrow margin, in yesterday's parliamentary elections.
The 43-year-old Karamanlis, who has never served in office, stated that the government, the ruling PASOK party, cannot proceed without New Democracy's consensus, perhaps hinting at the reforms expected to follow.
"New Democracy marked an impressive broadening of the social forces supporting it," Mr. Karamanlis stated, adding that "the result is essentially a victory for New Democracy and constitutes a starting point for a new beginning so needed by the country."
Thanking all his colleagues and supporters, Mr. Karamanlis stated that "the political current is ever strong for New Democracy and for Greece in the 21st century."
 MARGINAL GAINS RECORDED IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 10 April 2000 (14:54 UTC+2)
The Athens Stock Exchange recorded marginal gains of 0.13% in today's session, the first after the elections, and closed at 4.941,32 points. The volume of transactions reached 138 billion drachmas.
Analysts attribute today's behavior of the Athens Stock Exchange to the fact that investors are still "numb" after last night's election thriller. Market circles point out that investors need a reasonable period of time to digest the election result and decide what they will do in the future.
 GALIP GALIP: THE GREEK-TURKISH RAPPROCHEMENT WILL CONTINUEThessaloniki, 10 April 2000 (14:26 UTC+2)
Only one Muslim minority candidate, PASOK's Galip Galip, was elected to parliament in Thrace, north-eastern Greece. The re-elected parliament deputy from the prefecture of Rodopi reminded that the Muslim minority had a strongest presence in the 1996 elections when the minority had elected two parliament deputies in the prefecture of Rodopi and one in the prefecture of Xanthi and pointed out that its representation could be stronger.
He said that it is good that PASOK was the winner because the Muslim minority is interested in the Greek-Turkish rapprochement which is expected to continue. He said that the chronic problems of the minority have entered the road to their solution during the previous PASOK government and now what is left is the economic development of the minority. He said that the nine agreements signed by Greece and Turkey must be implemented especially, the one for the mutual backing of investments. Mr. Galip stated to MPA that the Turkish businessmen are expected to make investments in Thrace in order for the Muslim minority to be benefited from them.
He said that the election system is to blame for the fact that no other Muslim minority deputies were elected. PASOK had a second Muslim candidate, Mehmet Ahmet, who got 6.797 votes. In the prefecture of Rodopi PASOK elects Chrisa Manolia with 13.614 votes, while New Democracy elects Evripidis Stilianidis with 17.393 votes. Mustafa Mustafa for the Coalition of the Left, who was not re-elected, got 4.247 votes (87.60% of the votes received by his party). The Muslim candidates of New Democracy were Siakir Nazif Nazif who got 4.503 votes and Imam Mustafa Ismail with 1.762 votes.
No Muslim candidate was elected in the prefecture of Xanthi. Birol Akifoglu, who had been elected with New Democracy in the last elections, yesterday came third after Mr. Kontos and Mr. Tsalidis, with 6.629 votes. PASOK's candidate Ihsan Kehagia came third, after Panagiotis Sgouridis and Sotiris Stolidis, with 5.298 votes. Based on the votes counted so far from 204 of the 207 polling stations in the prefecture of Xanthi PASOK elects Sgouridis with 11.410 votes and Stolidis with 5.750 votes, while New Democracy elects Alexandros Kontos with 11.168 votes.
 SIMITIS RECEIVED THE MANDATE TO FORM A GOVERNMENTAthens, 10 April 2000 (13:49 UTC+2)
Greek president Kostis Stephanopoulos gave the mandate to socialist party of PASOK leader Kostas Simitis to form a new government.
Immediately after the meeting with the president, Mr. Simitis said that he will seek to form a government having renewal and continuity as priorities, while the priority issues in the next four-year term will be the social state and employment. The new government will be formed in the next few days.
Mr. Simitis stated that with the new government a new circle of reforms will be launched that will open new horizons and will make Greece stronger and more present than before.
Mr. Stephanopoulos expressed the certainty that all Greeks regardless of the party they have voted for wish for the success of the government on which the success of the country depends.
 CONSENSUS BETWEEN PASOK AND NEW DEMOCRACY WILL BE THE KEY FOR THE COURSE OF THE ECONOMYThessaloniki, 10 April 2000 (13:29 UTC+2)
The consensus between the government and the main opposition party after yesterday's elections, in which the socialist party of PASOK renewed its mandate to form a government with a small lead over the conservative New Democracy which remained in the opposition, is the key for the course of the Greek economy.
Economic analysts believe that consensus must characterize relations between the two main political parties in Greece in the "front" of the economy especially, in view of the tough negotiations for the evaluation of Greece's application to join the EMU.
The efforts of the new government must focus on the promotion of structural changes but political analysts believe that it is hard for a government with a small majority to undertake the political cost for the promotion of the socially painful structural changes.
The liberalization of the energy and telecommunications markets and the speeding-up of privatization constitute two of the basic axes on which the economic policy of the government must focus. Specifically, by the end of the next two-year term strategic investors must enter in all state companies regardless of whether the majority of the shares will remain under state control.
At the same time, the terms in the job market must become more flexible and unemployment must be countered, while wage increases have to remain compatible with price stability in order to
maintain the favorable conditions for economic development without rekindling inflationary pressures.
In the stock exchange front, the need for immediate change in the terms for the operation of the Athens Stock Exchange is imperative in order to limit the effects of its unpredictable behavior toward small investors.
The social security issue remains crucial and the prime minister is called to make brave decisions. It has been made clear that there will be changes with main characteristic the rise in the pension age and the introduction of private insurance in the new regulations.
 THE REUTERS NEWS AGENCY ON THE ELECTION RESULTSThessaloniki, 10 April 2000 (12:35 UTC+2)
The likelihood to appear problems in the materialization of the modernizing program of PASOK because of the limited majority won by the party in yesterday's parliamentary elections is presented in Reuters news agency's analysis on the Greek elections.
Instead of the 162 seats it had won in the last parliament, PASOK now has 158 which according to Reuters, citing political analysts, is likely to create problems by those in the party who disagree with policies regarded as anti-socialist as for example, privatizations.
According to Reuters, most of the leading PASOK members are aware of the fact that they owe their election to Kostas Simitis, as while the opinion polls had showed that many Greeks were tired with PASOK, which is in power for the last 20 years at they same time, they showed that the majority of the people prefer Mr. Simitis for the post of the prime minister.
The Reuters reports that the first indication regarding the intentions of PASOK's leader will be the members of the new cabinet as many of PASOK's old ministers were in power for many years and gradually they have lost their popularity.
Regarding Greece's accession into the EMU, Reuters stresses that the technocratic team of Mr. Simitis must secure a real convergence with the Euro-zone rules in order to avoid problems with its partners, while on its foreign policy the news agency writes that Greece is expected to continue the rapprochement with Turkey which possibly could include the solution of the Cyprus problem.
 ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE PICTURE AFTER ELECTIONSAthens, 10 April 2000 (12:10 UTC+2)
A change is expected in the Athens Stock Exchange setting after the election results as since Friday the stock market looked for a way out of the pre-election suspense and followed an upward course, but the close outcome is not regarded as enough to fully ease the uncertainty in the Athens Stock Exchange.
The majority of the domestic investors maintain that the course of the market from now on will depend on the maturity that will be displayed by the Greek government concerning the promotion of the necessary structural changes in the front of the economy. Also, the future course of the economy in part will depend on the trust that will be shown by foreign investors who will place their capital in the Athens Stock Exchange.
In this setting the international investment houses "vote" for stability and consensus, pointing out that the course toward the EMU is steady, while the next "bet" for the Greek economy will be the promotion of structural changes.
Specifically, according to Athens newspaper "Imerisia" analysts Michael Harris and Matthew Vogel of Merrill Lynch, the Greek stock market will be under relative pressure in the next few months with the general index to lack "inspiration" and show small fluctuations remaining at its current levels.
 BIPOLAR POLITICS THE WINNER, SAYS TSOVOLASAthens, 10 April 2000 (11:34 UTC+2)
Democratic Social Movement leader Dimitris Tsovolas launched an attack against the two large parties, the mass media and the United States commenting in the early morning hours of today on the parliamentary elections results.
He congratulated his party's candidates for resisting the politically dishonest anti-democratic blackmail and pressures exerted on them by the PASOK party mechanism. He reiterated his view that if PASOK or New Democracy was elected to power for this four-year term two of the main Greek national issues will close not in favor of Greece, while the tough anti-popular policy will continue.
Mr. Tsovolas said that it appears that the people do not want political leaders and parties that respect the vote they get, stressing that bipolar politics was finally the winner. He congratulated for this big victory the large newspapers and businesses and the United States and wished that the vote of the people will not turn to be a fatal mistake for Greece and Cyprus and the simple Greek citizens.
 COALITION OF THE LEFT ON THE ELECTION RESULTAthens, 10 April 2000 (11:34 UTC+2)
The assurance that Coalition of the Left will continue its effort in parliament was given by party leader Nikos Kontantopoulos in statements he made in Zappion Mageron building in Athens at the early morning hours of today, stressing that his party fought against the two-party politics but failed.
He referred to those voters who overcame the blackmailing dilemmas and backed Coalition of the Left. He said that in the new period that begins today the Greek society will be faced with great challenges, stressing that those challenges demand changes on the politics implemented so far, while the choices that serve the true development, the social cohesion, the reconstruction of the state and the political system must be preferred. Mr. Konstantopoulos also said that in the new parliament it will be obvious that the big percentage of votes won by the two large political parties of PASOK and New Democracy will not mean that they will be able to respond to Greece's big problems in the new century.
 GREEK COMMUNISTS WILL BE ON THE PEOPLE'S SIDEAthens, 10 April 2000 (11:34 UTC+2)
Greek Communist Party general secretary Aleka Papariga speaking in the early morning hours today, expressed her own views on the election results, saying that the outcome will lead to new conclusions and skepticism.
Referring to those who voted for the two large parties, she pointed out that they must think things over but this does not mean that the Communist Party will not be next to them to help them deal with their problems.
Ms. Papariga said that PASOK is not a barrier to conservatism but it actually feeds it and it is proven that the policy that can be a hope for the radicalism of the popular masses is included in the Communist Party's proposal for a popular front, stressing that there is no other hope or another way out.
She said that the party is at the front line and on the people's side who will certainly face a new attack, adding that it is very important that the Communist Party this time was supported by voters who were not communists.
 PRESIDENT CLERIDES ON GREEK ELECTIONSNicosia, 9 April 2000 (23:56 UTC+2)
The President of the Republic of Cyprus Glafcos Clerides stated today that close cooperation between Nicosia and Athens will continue with whoever is in power as "national problems should come above political beliefs."
Referring to the demand by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash for recognition of his illegal regime, he stated that it has been rejected by all key players in the peace effort.