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Greece election: EU and Germany firm on Athens bailout
2 years ago

Greece election: EU and Germany firm on Athens bailout

Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras and supporters in Athens (6 May 2012)

Syriza supporters mobbed their leader Alexis Tsipras after the party won second place

 

Greece crisis

Syriza supporters mobbed their leader Alexis Tsipras after the party won second place
The EU and Germany have stressed Greece must keep to the terms of the two EU/IMF bailouts, after a surge of voter support for anti-austerity parties.
The two main parties, New Democracy and Pasok, attracted less than a third of the vote, in an election plunging Greece into political uncertainty.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said Greece's reforms were of "utmost importance".
New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras will now face a struggle finding parties prepared to join a government.
With about 99% of votes counted, centre-right New Democracy (ND) is leading with 18.9%, down from 33.5% in 2009.
ND and the socialist Pasok have between them run Greece since the 1970s. Since November, they have been in a coalition led by technocrat Prime Minister Lucas Papademos.
Pasok could manage only third place with 13.2%, down from 43.9% in the last elections and behind Syriza.
The extremist Golden Dawn party, with almost 7%, is on course for at least 20 seats in parliament.
"It is time for those that betray [Greece] to be afraid," its leader Nikolaos Mihaloliakos warned. "We are coming. We are Greeks, nationalists, and we will allow no one to doubt this."
There is widespread anger across Greece at harsh measures imposed by the government in return for international bailouts.
Deal in doubt
Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras said he wanted to form a left-wing coalition rejecting the terms of Greece's bailouts.
"The parties that signed the memorandum (with the EU and the IMF) are now a minority. The public verdict has de-legitimised them," he said.
"Our proposal is a left-wing government that, with the backing of the people will negate the memorandum and put a stop to our nation's predetermined course towards misery."


This post was modified from its original form on 07 May, 7:01
2 years ago

 

Greek voters voice their concerns over the instability in the country

 

 

Pasok leader and former Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos called for a broad coalition government of pro-European parties.

 

"A coalition government of the old two-party system would not have sufficient legitimacy or sufficient domestic and international credibility if it would gather a slim majority," he said.

 

"A government of national unity with the participation of all the parties that favour a European course, regardless of their positions toward the loan agreements, would have meaning."

 

He added: "For us in Pasok, today is particularly painful. We knew the price would be heavy and we had undertaken for a long time to bear it."

 

Pasok was in power when Greece negotiated the terms of its 2010 bailout of 110bn euros (£88bn; $143bn) and was in a coalition with New Democracy when it secured this year's 130bn euro deal.

 

In fourth place in the partial results were the new right-wing Independent Greeks with 10%.

 

Their leader, Panos Kammenos, has already ruled out co-operation with either Pasok or New Democracy, Athens News reported.

 

Fresh savings

 

Coalition negotiations can take place over three days. If they fail, the party in second place can try to form a coalition, and if still unsuccessful, the third party will receive the mandate.

 

If still no coalition emerges, Greece will hold another election - a prospect which would alarm the country's international creditors.

 

The ability of any new government to carry on with the austerity programme will be crucial for Greece's continued access to bailout funds from the EU, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund - the so-called troika.

 

Are you in Greece? What is your reaction to the results? Send us your comments using the form below.

 

 

GREECE RESULTS

 

 

Share

Seats

New Democracy

18.85%

Syriza

16.78%

Pasok

13.18%

Independent Greeks

10.6%

KKE (Communist)

8.48%

Golden Dawn

6.97%

Democratic Left

Turnout

65.09%

After 99.9% of the vote



This post was modified from its original form on 07 May, 7:12
Analysis
2 years ago

Analysis

New Democracy will try to form an austerity-supporting pro-European coalition government, perhaps with a third party, because it would not gain enough with Pasok to form an absolute majority.

 

But the anti-bailout party Syriza will also try to form an alternative coalition government. There could be a clash of the two - we could be facing fresh elections within weeks.

 

This country is now placed into a period of intense political instability - and by extension the eurozone as a whole.

 

A majority of Greeks have voted against the bailout and against the austerity, which will make it very difficult for the EU or IMF to call for yet more austerity here.

 

The success of the new-right Golden Dawn party indicates how comprehensive a rejection of the political mainstream, the bailout and austerity there has been.

 

The stability and the future of Greece are now in doubt once again. That will bring a lot of dismay to the financial markets and to the eurozone as a whole.



This post was modified from its original form on 07 May, 7:20
Greece election: Vote risks EU bailout split
2 years ago

7 May 2012 Last updated at 17:14

 

Greece election: Vote risks EU bailout split

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says reform plans must continue in Greece

 

Greek conservative Antonis Samaras has three days to form a coalition, faced with EU warnings to keep to the tough terms of international bailouts.

 

Two-thirds of Greek voters backed parties opposed to the EU/IMF deal, renewing fears that Athens may default on its debts and leave the eurozone.

 

Germany's Angela Merkel has made clear that Greece's reforms must go on.

 

But her focus on austerity has taken a knock with the election in France of pro-growth Socialist Francois Hollande.

 

Mr Hollande campaigned on a platform of renegotiating the terms of the EU fiscal pact to concentrate more on reviving economic prosperity than simply reducing budget deficits.

 

'Utmost importance'

 

Mrs Merkel said she would meet France's next president next week "with open arms" but told a news conference that "we in Germany are of the opinion, and so am I personally, that the fiscal pact is not negotiable".

 

The German chancellor added that the Greek debt reforms were of "utmost importance". That message was underlined by European Commission spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen, who said Brussels "hopes and expects that the future government of Greece will respect the engagement that Greece has entered into".

 

Any political instability in Greece may prompt fresh questions over the country's place in the eurozone. Under Greece's current bailout plan, a further 11bn euros of cuts in spending is due to be found next month.

 

News of the Greek vote and the election of Francois Hollande sent the euro falling to its lowest level against the dollar since January. Shares on the Athens stock market tumbled, with the Athex index sliding more than 7% in morning trading.

 

Political revolution

 

Although a protest vote against the stringent austerity measures enforced on Greeks had been widely expected, in the event the two main parties that had agreed the bailout terms, New Democracy (ND) and socialist Pasok, attracted less than a third of the vote.

 

For Greece, it amounts to a political revolution as the country has been run by either one party or the other since the 1970s. Since November, they have been in a coalition, led by technocrat Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, which secured this year's 130bn euro deal.

 

Pasok was also in power when Greece negotiated the terms of its 2010 bailout of 110bn euros (£88bn; $143bn).

 

New Democracy's support on Sunday slipped from 33.5% to less than 19% of the vote while Pasok's share plummeted from 43% to just over 13%.

 

A radical left coalition, Syriza, came second, in front of Pasok, with 16.8% and a party of ultra-nationalists - Golden Dawn - polled almost 7%.

 

Having polled the most votes, ND leader Antonis Samaras has begun talks to try to convince other parties to join a new coalition, but only Pasok are so far thought likely to show interest. Pasok's leader and former Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos has called for a broad coalition government of pro-European parties.

 

"A coalition government of the old two-party system would not have sufficient legitimacy or sufficient domestic and international credibility if it would gather a slim majority," he said.

 

page 1  

2 years ago

'Tragedy'

 

Allowed only three days to seek a deal by President Karolos Papoulias, the centre-right leader has pledged to keep the country in the euro, although he has promised to try to amend the bailout terms in order to boost growth.

 

His first meeting with Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras, the runner-up in the election, came to nothing.

 

Mr Tsipras, speaking on Greek TV, said the bailout deal was a "tragedy", and he held out the possibility of a coalition involving "the forces of the left". He has already described the parties that signed the EU/IMF bailout as "de-legitimised" by the public.

 

Mr Samaras went on to have talks with Pasok's Evangelos Venizelos. He is also due to talk to Fotis Kouvelis from Democratic Left, who has already made clear his objection to a coalition agreement with Mr Samaras.

 

In fourth place were the new right-wing Independent Greeks with 10%.

 

Their leader, Panos Kammenos, has already ruled out co-operation with either Pasok or New Democracy, Athens News reported.

 

The extremist Golden Dawn party is on course for at least 20 seats in parliament.

 

"It is time for those that betray [Greece] to be afraid," its leader Nikolaos Mihaloliakos warned. "We are coming. We are Greeks, nationalists, and we will allow no one to doubt this."

 

Deal in doubt

 

If Mr Samaras fails to reach a coalition deal, the party in second place, Syriza, can try to form a coalition, and if still unsuccessful, the third party will receive the mandate.

 

If still no coalition emerges, Greece will hold another election - a prospect which would alarm the country's international creditors.

 

The ability of any new government to carry on with the austerity programme will be crucial for Greece's continued access to bailout funds from the EU, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund - the so-called troika.

 

Page 2    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17975370

2 years ago

Ray, it appears this is a long, long way from resolution and just how fragile the World Economy is at the present time.  And Obama is not doing anything here to get things moving in the right direction, thus the rest of the world is floundering as well.  All it takes is for the U.S. to move forward in a positive motion and this will have a beneficial effect on the rest of the world; this is a very critical time and Obama is not the man to resolve anything; his signals are having a definite negative impact I am afraid.

Greek election: Antonis Samaras coalition bid fails
2 years ago

7 May 2012 Last updated at 19:44

 

Greek election: Antonis Samaras coalition bid fails

New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras addresses supporters during a pre-election rally on May 3
Antonis Samaras said he had done everything he could to secure a coalition

Greek centre-right leader Antonis Samaras has said he cannot form a coalition government, dealing a blow to supporters of the foreign bailouts.

 

His New Democracy emerged as the biggest party after Sunday's vote, but he said a coalition was "impossible".

 

Far-left group Syriza, which is opposed to austerity measures, will now try to form an anti-bailout coalition.

 

The Greek result combined with France electing an anti-austerity president has caused alarm among EU leaders.

 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Greece's austerity reforms were of "utmost importance".

 

European Commission spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen said Brussels "hopes and expects that the future government of Greece will respect the engagement that Greece has entered into".

 

'Barbaric' measures

 

In return for two EU/IMF bailouts worth a total of 240bn euros (£190bn; $310), Greece agreed to make deep cuts to pensions and pay, raise taxes and slash thousands of public sector jobs.

 

The financial chaos sparked huge social unrest, and led to a deep mistrust of the parties considered to be the architects of austerity.

 

Mr Samaras said his party had done "everything we could" to form a government but he said it was impossible, so handed back the mandate.

 

President Karolos Papoulias has now arranged a meeting for Tuesday morning with Alexis Tsipras, whose Syriza coalition came second in Sunday's election.

 

Mr Tsipras will be given three days to negotiate a coalition, and he promised to stitch together a left-wing coalition to reject the "barbaric" measures associated with the EU/IMF bailout deal.

 

"We will exhaust all possibilities to reach an understanding, primarily with the forces of the left," he said.

 

But analysts say he is likely to struggle to reach the numbers needed for a cross-party majority.

 

The BBC's Mark Lowen in Athens says Greece's political crisis is deepening, and the likelihood of fresh elections is growing ever stronger.

 

Despite emerging as the biggest party, New Democracy's support slipped from 33.5% in the last election to less than 19% on Sunday.

 

Support for the centre-left Pasok, which also supported the austerity measures, plummeted from 43% to just over 13%.

 

The major winners were anti-bailout groups - Syriza, with 16.8%, and the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn with almost 7%.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17984805

Greek election: Syriza 'to tear up EU austerity deal'
2 years ago

Greek election: Syriza 'to tear up EU austerity deal'

Alexis Tsipras (8 May 2012)
Alexis Tsipras says his cabinet would reject "barbaric" austerity measures

The leader of Greece's left-wing Syriza bloc has said he will try to form a coalition based on tearing up the terms of the EU/IMF bailout deal.

 

Alexis Tsipras, whose bloc came second in Sunday's vote, said Greek voters had "clearly nullified the loan agreement".

 

He has three days to reach a coalition deal and has told the two major parties to end their support for the austerity terms if they want to take part.

 

The European Commission and Germany say countries must stick to budget cuts.

 

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Tuesday: "What member states have to do is be consistent, implementing the policies that they have agreed."

 

But, after French voters chose a new president on Sunday in Francois Hollande who has advocated greater focus on growth, EU leaders are to gather on 23 May for an informal meeting at which his proposals will be discussed.

 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has written to Mr Hollande, saying that it is "up to us... to prepare our societies for the future and protect and advance prosperity in a sustainable way".

 

The financial chaos has sparked huge social unrest in Greece and led to a deep mistrust of the parties considered to be the architects of austerity.

 

On Monday the leader of the centre-right New Democracy (ND) party, Antonis Samaras, abandoned attempts to form a coalition.

 

ND came first in the polls but, in common with the centre-left Pasok - the other traditional party of power - saw its share of the vote dramatically reduced.

 

In March, both parties backed the terms of the second EU/IMF deal agreed by technocrat Prime Minister Lucas Papademos.

 

Greek election results graphic

 

In return for its two bailouts - worth a total of 240bn euros (£190bn; $310) - Greece agreed to make deep cuts to pensions and pay, raise taxes and slash thousands of public sector jobs.

 

Their votes drained away in Sunday's elections in favour of smaller parties on the left and right, with Syriza picking up almost 17% of the vote. But because ND came first, it was awarded a 50-seat bonus in parliament according to Greek rules, and was initially asked to form a government.

 

Twenty-four hours later it was Mr Tsipras who was given a mandate to form a coalition during a meeting with President Karolos Papoulias and immediately he began talks with prospective partners.

 

Page 1 

2 years ago

Greek voters worried about their political future

 

Greek media said he had enlisted the support of a smaller left-wing party, Democratic Left, but had failed to persuade the communist KKE to back him. He is likely to talk to all the party leaders, except the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn.

 

If the 38-year-old Syriza leader hopes to obtain the 151 seats needed for a majority in parliament, it is already clear he will need the backing of at least one of the two major parties.

 

He told reporters "the pro-bailout parties no longer have a majority in parliament to vote in destructive measures for the Greek people" and urged them to write to the EU and IMF saying they were taking back earlier promises of co-operation made as a condition of the bailouts.

 

Mr Tsipras made his position clear to reporters in a five-point plan:

  • Cancelling the bailout terms, notably laws that further cut wages and pensions
  • Scrapping laws that abolish workers rights, particularly a law abolishing collective labour agreements due to come into effect on 15 May
  • Promoting changes to deepen democracy and social justice
  • Investigating Greece's banking system which received almost 200bn euros of public money
  • Setting up an international committee to find out the causes of Greece's public deficit and putting on hold all debt servicing

Under Greece's current bailout plan, billions of euros in further austerity cuts will have to be found in June - and the country is also counting on a 30bn euro (£24bn; $39bn) instalment in EU/IMF funds.

 

Start Quote

You have to say the chances of a messy Greek exit from the euro are higher than they were a few months ago. And, let's face it, they were pretty high then”

2 years ago

Greece's Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras ends coalition bid

Alexis Tsipras, 9 MayAlexis Tsipras (L) failed to put together a coalition during talks with mainstream parties

The leader of Greece's far-left Syriza bloc, Alexis Tsipras, has abandoned his efforts to form a governing coalition.

 

Mr Tsipras said he had failed to reach agreement with mainstream parties because of his insistence on rejecting austerity measures demanded by the EU and IMF as part of a bailout deal.

 

He made the announcement after talks with the Pasok and New Democracy parties, which support the bailout.

 

Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos is now expected to try to form a coalition.

 

But if he in turn fails, Greece could face fresh elections within weeks.

 

An earlier attempt by New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras to form a coalition failed on Monday.

 

Following Wednesday's talks, Mr Tsipras told Syriza MPs: "We cannot make true our dream of a left-wing government."

 

Financial chaos has sparked huge social unrest in Greece and led to a deep mistrust of the parties considered to be the architects of austerity.

 

The BBC's Mark Lowen in Athens says there are serious doubts over whether Mr Venizelos will succeed in his coalition effort - meaning a new election and a prolonged political crisis seem increasingly inevitable.

 

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Samaras rejected Mr Tsipras's demand to tear up the bailout deal.

 

Mr Samaras told a party meeting that the proposal would "lead to immediate internal collapse and international bankruptcy, with the inevitable exit from Europe".

 

"[Amending] the loan deal is one thing, it is a completely different thing to unilaterally denounce it. The second option leads to catastrophe that is certain and immediate," he said.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18008179

2 years ago

9 May 2012 Last updated at 17:54

 

Syriza's Tsipras to meet Greece's pro-bailout parties

 

 

Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras leaving the presidential palace in Athens (8 May)
Mr Tsipras wants a government that rejects Greece's bailout commitments

The leader of Greece's left-wing Syriza bloc is continuing attempts to form a government after elections on Sunday produced an inconclusive result.

 

Alexis Tsipras has said he will try to form a coalition based on tearing up the terms of the EU/IMF bailout deal, which he describes as "barbaric".

 

On Wednesday, he is meeting the two mainstream pro-bailout parties, Pasok and New Democracy (ND).

 

If the two sides fail to agree, Greece could face fresh elections in weeks.

 

The financial chaos has sparked huge social unrest in Greece and led to a deep mistrust of the parties considered to be the architects of austerity.

 

Power vacuum?

Mr Tsipras wants a government that turns its back on cost-cutting and Greece's bailout commitments.

 

He secured agreement from one centre-left party on Tuesday.

 

After initial talks between Mr Tsipras and Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos on Wednesday, Mr Venizelos said there had been no success so far in the coalition talks.

 

"At the current stage we cannot reach a deal, but must continue the effort," Mr Venizelos said.

 

Earlier on Wednesday, New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras clearly rejected Mr Tsipras's demand to scrap the bailout deal.

 

Mr Samaras told a party meeting that Mr Tsipras's proposal would "lead to immediate internal collapse and international bankruptcy, with the inevitable exit from Europe".

 

"[Amending] the loan deal is one thing, it is a completely different thing to unilaterally denounce it. The second option leads to catastrophe that is certain and immediate," he said.

 

The party leaders who signed the bailout deal are unlikely to agree to Mr Tsipras's terms, says the BBC's Mark Lowen in Athens.

 

If no deal is reached, a perilous power vacuum would be created, our correspondent says.

 

Greece would be unable to draw its international loan, meaning it would again face the prospect of bankruptcy and possible exit from the euro, he adds.

 

Newly elected Syriza MP Euclid Tsakalotos told the BBC that Germany should finance a plan for Greece similar to the Marshall Plan, the US-led aid effort which helped rebuild Germany after World War II.

 

Page 1  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18001715

 



This post was modified from its original form on 10 May, 10:05
2 years ago

Otherwise, he warned, the eurozone would collapse.

 

"The eurozone is going to collapse not because Greek leftists have said we've had enough of austerity and we can't have wages of the level of Bulgaria when we have prices at the level of Berlin; it's going to collapse because of these austerity measures," Mr Tsakalotos said.

 

The European Commission and Germany say countries must stick to budget cuts.

 

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle urged Greece to keep its commitments; otherwise, he said, it risked leaving the euro.

 

Greek voters worried about their political future

 

"Germany would like to keep Greece in the eurozone, but Greece's fate is now in its own hands," he said on Wednesday. "Greece must decide for itself which route it will take."

 

New Democracy's share of the vote fell from 33.5% in 2009 to less than 19%, while Pasok plummeted from 43% to just over 13%.

 

In March, both parties backed the terms of the second EU/IMF deal agreed by technocrat Prime Minister Lucas Papademos.

 

In return for its two bailouts - worth a total of 240bn euros (£190bn; $310) - Greece agreed to make deep cuts to pensions and pay, raise taxes and slash thousands of public sector jobs.

 

Mr Tsipras made his position clear to reporters in a five-point plan:

  • Cancelling the bailout terms, notably laws that further cut wages and pensions
  • Scrapping laws that abolish workers' rights, particularly a law abolishing collective labour agreements due to come into effect on 15 May
  • Promoting changes to deepen democracy and social justice
  • Investigating Greece's banking system which received almost 200bn euros of public money
  • Setting up an international committee to find out the causes of Greece's public deficit and putting on hold all debt servicing

Greek media said Mr Tsipras had enlisted the support of a smaller left-wing party, Democratic Left, but failed to persuade the communist KKE to back him. He is likely to talk to all the party leaders, except the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn.


Page 2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18001715

2 years ago

10 May 2012 Last updated at 05:03

 

Pasok's Venizelos in third bid for Greece coalition

Greece's Pasok party leader Evangelos VenizelosVenizelos leads a once-dominant party - Pasok - that was beaten into third place on Sunday

Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos will make a third effort to form a coalition government in Greece amid political turmoil following Sunday's elections.

 

The talks follow failed bids by leaders of the centre-right New Democracy and radical left Syriza bloc.

 

Correspondents warn Pasok is tainted by its association with unpopular austerity cutbacks.

 

Sunday's elections revealed a country divided over plans to bring it out of its debt crisis.

 

Financial chaos has sparked huge social unrest in Greece and led to a deep mistrust of the once-dominant parties which backed austerity.

 

Under the bailout agreement, Athens is due to pass new austerity measures worth 14.5bn euros (£11.6bn; $18.8bn) next month - part of cuts required to qualify for bailouts worth a total of 240bn euros.

 

'Effort must continue'

After the first two parties failed to find coalition partners, former finance minister Mr Venizelos will now meet President Karolos Papoulias to receive the mandate to try to form a government.

 

"It was clear that in the current stage of this process we cannot reach a solution but that we must continue this effort," Mr Venizelos said, according to AP news agency.

 

"So the mandate I will receive tomorrow will have substance and importance."

 

But Pasok is now deeply unpopular, says the BBC's Mark Lowen in Athens - seen as the architects of austerity, and tainted with allegations of corruption.

 

It dominated Greek politics for most of the past four decades, but saw its support slashed on Sunday - coming third with just 41 seats, a quarter of its pre-bailout support.

Its attempt to form a government also appears likely to fail, our correspondent says, making fresh elections - and weeks of fresh instability across the eurozone - seem inevitable.

Protester in Athens, 1 May
Austerity measures have sparked widespread protests

The eurozone's rescue fund on Wednesday decided to withhold 1bn euros of its latest instalment of its bailout to Greece pending a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Monday.

 

But the fund said it would disburse 4.2bn euros of the 5.2bn euros due to the country on Thursday.

 

Page 1   http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18015441

2 years ago

'Dream' dashed

 

The fresh coalition bid follows in the wake of a failed attempt by Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Greece's far-left Syriza bloc.

 

Mr Tsipras said he had failed to reach agreement with mainstream parties because of his insistence on rejecting austerity measures demanded by the EU and IMF as part of a bailout deal.

 

He made the announcement after failed talks with the Pasok and New Democracy parties, which support the bailout. Talks with the Communist KKE and smaller left-wing Democratic Left also failed.

 

He told Syriza MPs: "We cannot make true our dream of a left-wing government."

 

Earlier on Wednesday, New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras rejected Mr Tsipras's demand to tear up the bailout deal.

 

Mr Samaras told a party meeting that the proposal would "lead to immediate internal collapse and international bankruptcy, with the inevitable exit from Europe".

 

"[Amending] the loan deal is one thing, it is a completely different thing to unilaterally denounce it. The second option leads to catastrophe that is certain and immediate," he said.

 

If it rejects the deal with the IMF and EU, Athens will be unable to draw its international loan, meaning it would again face the prospect of bankruptcy and possible exit from the euro, our correspondent says.

 

Previous Greek governments agreed to make deep cuts to pensions and pay, raise taxes and slash thousands of public sector jobs in return for the bailouts.

 

Both Germany and the EU have made clear they expect Athens to honour its commitments.

 

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said on Wednesday: "Germany would like to keep Greece in the eurozone, but Greece's fate is now in its own hands."

 

Page 2   http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18015441

Greece: Pasok and New Democracy leaders in unity talks
2 years ago

Greece: Pasok and New Democracy leaders in unity talks

Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos
Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos said talks with the Democratic Left went well

The leader of Greece's main socialist party, Evangelos Venizelos, is due to meet conservative Antonis Samaras in an attempt to form a unity government.

 

Mr Venizelos is the third leader to try to form a coalition after Sunday's election produced a hung parliament.

 

The socialist Pasok and centre-right New Democracy parties governed in coalition until last Sunday's election.

 

Voters angry at austerity measures abandoned them for parties rejecting the terms of an international bailout.

 

Analysts say Friday's talks are unlikely to succeed. If they fail, the president must ask all political leaders to make one final effort to form a government before calling fresh elections.

 

Pasok dominated Greek politics for most of the past four decades, but saw its support slashed on Sunday - coming third with just 41 seats in the 300-seat parliament.

 

Mr Samaras's New Democracy won the most votes, taking 108 seats, but he was unable to woo other party leaders.

 

Left-wing coalition Syriza was the second biggest party, but its leader Alexis Tsipras also failed to form a government because of his insistence on rejecting austerity measures demanded by the EU and IMF.

 

Pasok and New Democracy between them have 149 seats, two short of a majority

 

'Slim chance'

However, on Thursday Mr Venizelos said he had made progress after meeting the leader of the Democratic Left party, which has 19 seats.

 

Its leader, Fotis Kouvelis, said he was willing to join a broad-based government that would keep the country in the euro but disengage it from the bailout.

 

"There is a very slim chance for a coalition if Kouvelis agrees," one socialist party official quoted by Reuters said. "But his party is split right down the middle."

 

The BBC's Mark Lowen in Athens says Pasok is deeply unpopular - seen as the architects of austerity, and tainted with allegations of corruption.

 

As the prospect of fresh elections loomed, an opinion poll published late on Thursday put Syriza in first place with nearly 28% of the vote - up from 16.8 - winning 128 seats.

 

The Marc survey for private Alpha TV put New Democracy in second place with 20.3% and 57 seats, and Pasok third with 12.6% of the vote and 36 seats.

 

The political deadlock has brought warnings from European leaders that debt-laden Greece could be thrown out of the euro if it does not stick to tough spending cuts and economic reforms.

 

Athens is due to approve fresh budget cuts worth 14.5bn euros (£11.6bn; $18.8bn) next month, in return for financial help from the EU and IMF worth a total of 240bn euros.

 

Both Germany and the EU have made clear they expect Athens to honour its commitments.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18030786

Greece: Pasok and New Democracy leaders in unity talks
2 years ago

Greece: Pasok and New Democracy leaders in unity talks

The leader of Greece's main socialist party, Evangelos Venizelos, has met conservative leader Antonis Samaras in an attempt to form a unity government.

 

Mr Venizelos is the third leader to try to form a coalition since Sunday's election produced a hung parliament.

 

Earlier observers said there was some hope of a coalition deal after Mr Venizelos met the head of a smaller, left-wing party.

 

Greece is grappling with a debt crisis, which is threatening the eurozone.

 

The big winners of the election were parties which rejected the terms of a bailout needed for Greece to continue to meet its loan repayments.

 

German officials have kept up the pressure on the Greek politicians by warning that Greece must stick to the terms of the bailout and saying that the eurozone could survive if Greece had to leave.

 

There was no public statement after the meeting between Mr Venizelos and Mr Samaras.

 

Their parties, Pasok and New Democracy respectively, formed the outgoing coalition but lost their majority in parliament.

 

The BBC's Mark Lowen in Athens says Thursday's meeting between Mr Venizelos and Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis seemed to provide the framework of an agreement for a coalition that would lighten the austerity measures in Greece, renegotiate parts of the loan agreement but try to keep the country in the euro.

 

If they can persuade New Democracy to accept the plan, those three parties would have enough seats to form a government.

 

But if the latest attempts fail, the president must ask all political leaders to make one final effort to form a government before calling fresh elections.

 

'Slim chance'

 

Pasok dominated Greek politics for most of the past four decades, but saw its support slashed - coming third with just 41 seats in the 300-seat parliament. Our correspondent says the party is deeply unpopular - seen as the architects of austerity, and tainted with allegations of corruption.

 

Mr Samaras's New Democracy won the most votes, taking 108 seats, but he was unable to woo other party leaders.

 

Left-wing coalition Syriza was the second biggest party, but its leader Alexis Tsipras also failed to form a government because of his insistence on rejecting austerity measures demanded by the EU and IMF.

 

Pasok and New Democracy between them have 149 seats, two short of a majority. The Democratic Left party has 19 seats.

 

On Thursday Mr Venizelos said he had made progress after meeting Mr Kouvelis.

 

Mr Samaras's New Democracy won the most votes, taking 108 seats, but he was unable to woo other party leaders.

 

Left-wing coalition Syriza was the second biggest party, but its leader Alexis Tsipras also failed to form a government because of his insistence on rejecting austerity measures demanded by the EU and IMF.

 

Pasok and New Democracy between them have 149 seats, two short of a majority. The Democratic Left party has 19 seats.

 

On Thursday Mr Venizelos said he had made progress after meeting Mr Kouvelis.

 

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told the Theinische Post newspaper that Europe "won't sink" if Greece left the eurozone.

 

Athens is due to approve fresh budget cuts worth 14.5bn euros (£11.6bn; $18.8bn) next month, in return for financial help from the EU and IMF worth a total of 240bn euros.

 

Both Germany and the EU have made clear they expect Athens to honour its commitments.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18030786

2 years ago

 

BBC NewsEUROPE
Final push for Greece government falls to president

 

 

Greek President Karolos Papoulias is preparing to hold talks with party leaders in an attempt to create an emergency government.

 

The move comes after the country's socialists became the third party to fail to form a coalition.

 

If the president's bid fails, fresh elections will have to be held, probably next month.

 

Last Sunday, voters backed parties opposed to Greece's bailout deal that requires deep budget cuts.

 

Greece's political turmoil has raised the possibility that it could default on its debts and be forced out of the eurozone.

 

The president is expected to try to pressure parties into a government of national salvation - but the BBC's Mark Lowen in Athens says he is unlikely to succeed.

 

The process could take days.

 

 

Evangelos Venizelos, leader of the socialist Pasok party, abandoned efforts to form a new government on Friday and said he would meet the president on Saturday morning.

 

He had held talks with centre-right New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras, whose party came first in the election, but could not find a third partner to give them a majority in parliament.

 

"I hope that during the negotiations chaired by Mr Papoulias everyone will be more mature and responsible in their thinking," Mr Venizelos said.

 

New Democracy also failed to form a coalition earlier in the week, as did the left-wing bloc Syriza, which came second in the election.

 

Austerity 'denounced'

 

Syriza firmly rejects the terms of the EU-IMF bailout, which requires tough austerity measures in return for loans worth a total of 240bn euros (£192bn; $310bn).

 

Its leader, Alexis Tsipras, said on Friday he could not join any coalition that intended to implement the bailout deal.

 

"The rejection of this plan does not come from Syriza but was given by the Greek people on the night of the election," he said.

 

"The bailout austerity has already been denounced by the Greek people with its vote, and no government has the right to enforce it."

 

Analysts say Syriza could be hoping for fresh elections after one opinion poll put them in first position in any new ballot, albeit without an overall majority.

 

 

Sunday's election saw a backlash against Pasok and New Democracy, which had formed the outgoing coalition and had agreed the terms of the bailout.

 

The once-dominant Pasok, which was seen as the architect of austerity, came third with just 41 seats in the 300-seat parliament.

 

The Greek crisis is continuing to create unease is global financial circles.

 

The Fitch ratings agency warned that if Greece did leave the euro, it would probably place all 16 remaining euro nations' sovereign ratings on "rating watch negative" - meaning they would be in danger of being downgraded.

 

"A Greek exit would break a fundamental tenet underpinning the euro - that membership of EMU (Economic and Monetary Union) is irrevocable," Fitch said.

 

EU monetary affairs chief Olli Rehn said Greece had to abide by its bailout terms.

 

"Greece systemically lived beyond its means for a decade... It is simply not sustainable and therefore Greece has had to take firm action to restore its economic competitiveness and sustainable public finances," he said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18044253

 



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