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Greek Elections and the Eurozone Crisis – Day Four

6:31 am in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

It Happens Every Spring - flickr

“This is gettin monotonous. Me and the kid here is playin catch while you guys is just fannin the air” – It Happens Every Spring

Pretty good way to start off this diary on the goings on in the Eurozone.  In case you haven’t seen the movie, it’s about a college chemistry professor who accidentally come up with a formula that causes baseballs to hop over wood and uses it to help the home teem.   Rather like the politicians trying to get the dept problem to avoid the banks. Which now focuses on Spain as well.  Here is the current situation from The Guardian.

1.50pm: De Guindos is still going:

He believes the cost to Spain’s bank restructuring fund of helping out banks that cannot come up with the new provisions will be less than €15bn euros. Loans wil be for up to five years, but can be converted into shares (i.e. part nationalisation) if the banks fail to pay them back.

1.39pm: And more from Giles:

De Guindos has said that two separate valuations of the global real estate loan portfolio of Spanish banks will be produced by independent valuers.

Journalists at the press conference want to know if this is a vote of no confidence in the Bank of Spain and its valuations. Ministers do not want to answer the question and are insisting that all they want is maximum transparency.

Live blog: newsflash

Read the rest of this entry →

The Greek Elections and The Eurozone – Day Three

6:51 am in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

The Original Amateur Hour - Flickr

“Round and round and round shes goes. Where she stops, nobody knows.” I thought this phrase from a show of long ago, Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour quite appropriate actually. Since the the ball has been passed back to Evangelos Venizelos of PASOK to once again try and form a Government in Greece. Here is the link to Athens News current live blog.

4.01pm Evangelos Venizelos will meet Democratic Left (DI.MAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis at 18.00 in the framework of his efforts to form a government, after receiving the third exploratory mandate from President Karolos Papoulias. According to Pasok, Venizelos will then meet with New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras on Friday at 10am.
3.59pm In an announcement, the Democratic Left have stated that the party remains adamant in its position on the realistic direction of the gradual disengagement from the memorandum via a strong renegotiation with our lenders as well as its stable focus on the country’s remaining in the eurozone. In the announcement the party sternly criticises the Syriza leadership, charging that “within the framework of the exploratory mandate, it did not take advantage of the opportunity to form a government” and that “with its handlings, it could send the country to new ballots, possible resulting in the rejuvenation of bipartisanism and conservatism”. ”Syriza members statements on the Greek economy, the obsession for the denouncement of the loan agreement that will mean bankruptcy and a rift with the eurozone, make a political agreement difficult. The maximalistic positions cancel out any possible solution. Syriza is exercising politics with the new campaign period in mind,” the announcement said.
3.50pm Have a look at what the Greek newspapers are saying about the fourth day of the coalition government dance in George Gilson’s Press Watch
3.46pm Syriza party sources have denied reports broadcast in Paris, that Alexis Tsipras and Left Front candidate in the recent French Presidential elections Jean-Luc Melenchon, would give a joint press conference in the French capital. The sources said that Tsipras is not planning any trip before the completion of the exploratory mandates process for the formation of a government in Greece.
And it seems that the owners of the website for Golden Dawn – the far right neo-nazi party – (wordpress) have shut the site down for violation of its terms of service.
1.55pm The website of Golden Dawn, the neo-Nazi party that took 7 percent in Sunday’s vote, has been shut down by WordPress of a violation of its terms of service.
The website had been used to publish an attack on a Greek journalist who wrote against the party. The Golden Dawn article threatened the journalist, by telling her she should watch her back.
However, in the last hour, the party has set up another blog, also on WordPress, at xagr.wordpress.com. Describing the suspension of its website as “undemocratic”, the party said it this would only serve to increase the anger of Greece at “foreign power”.
And here is The Guardian’s live blog and their take on the situation.

2.22pm: Golden Dawn’s web site was suspended by the blogging platform WordPress today, for violating the terms of its service.

There had been calls for the fascist party’s site to be taken down after it published an attack on Greek journalist Xenia Kounalaki, who had written that Greeks should ignore Golden Dawn (full details here).

That article was seen as a barely concealed threat against Kounalaki, saying she should “watch her back”. Golden Dawn (which shocked much of Europe by winning 21 seats) has also demanded that journalists stood up when its leader entered a press conference this week, prompting fears that press freedom was being eroded.

Golden Dawn has now created a new web site on WordPress, on which it attacks the “dirty and illegal” suspension of its original site. It also vowed to “uproot the pustule of foreign occupation in Greece” (thanks to @Finisterre67 for the translation)

1.46pm: Regular reader Fripouille kindly flags up that Le Figaro’s website is leading with a rather pessimistic view of the current situation. From a sunny Lyon, he writes:

It’s a longish article predicting that Greece may well go bust before the end of June and leave the Eurozone, with catastrophic consequences, and a reader poll in which 80% of  voters think that Greece should leave the Eurozone, just days after the country elected an anti-austerity president who said that Greece should be helped.Go figure…

It’s an interesting read, outlining how a Syriza-led government could lead to euro exit, a 50% devaluation, and financial turmoil. If your French isn’t up to much, this link takes you to a Google translation.

So there you have it. And Wall Street wonders why people are avoiding it’s cuckoo’s nest.

Eurozone and Greek Elections Updates….

7:12 am in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

Greek Statue - Flickr Creative Commons

Though flying under the radar here, there are some important developments in the Greek Elections that could change the economic situation in Europe and here as well. The Guardian has a live blog going on the situation here.

And Athens News has one here. This in my estimation is more important that the French election results, but maybe only just.

Here is the latest break down from the Guardian.

2.35pm: Shares on the Athens stock markets are being routed, after Alexis Tsipras (who holds the mandate to form the next Greek government) insisted that Greece should not abide by the terms of its bailout (see 1.27pm onwards).

The main stock index in Athens has fallen by 5%, with the banking index down by over 10%.

Analysts at IHS Global Insight warned this afternoon that the prospects of a strong, stable Greek government look “more and more distant”, adding:

Without political and social support for austerity and reforms, the already challenging adjustment programme agreed with the “troika” looks destined for failure.

Although several polls show that a majority of Greeks wish to stay in the Eurozone, the surge in votes for parties decidedly against the reform programme suggests that a sizeable portion of the Greek electorate is not prepared to do what needs to be done in order to remain in the common currency area.

But can you blame them, in the face of a five-year recession, unemployment rising, and an ongoing slump in its manufacturing and industrial sectors?

2.30pm: Here’s a breakdown of Alexis Tsipras’s conditions for forming a new government with either of the two ‘mainstream’ Greek parties (via Ekathimerini

1) The immediate cancellation of all impending measures that will impoverish Greeks further, such as cuts to pensions and salaries.

2) The immediate cancellation of all impending measures that undermine fundamental workers’ rights, such as the abolition of collective labor agreements.

3) The immediate abolition of a law granting MPs immunity from prosecution, reform of the electoral law and a general overhaul of the political system. According to Keep Talking Greece, that would include abolishing the 50-seat bonus for the party which wins the most seats.

4) An investigation into Greek banks, and the immediate publication of the audit performed on the Greek banking sector by BlackRock.

5) The setting up of an international auditing committee to investigate the causes of Greece’s public deficit, with a moratorium on all debt servicing until the findings of the audit are published.

That adds up to a resounding rejection of Greece’s current financial programme.

And here from Athens News.

4.55pm A lot has been said today about the statements made by Syriza member Dimitris Stratoulis, concerning the Greek banks and possible state control, in an interview given to Vima FM radio station.  The highlights are as follows:
- Technically and financially, if you’re saying we are leaving the memorandum, how will you handle the banking issue? If we leave the memorandum, they’ll just be empty tresure chests.
- They won’t be empty treasure chests. Greek banks already have 165 billion euros worth of deposits by the Greek people.
- That’s our money, not bank money though.
- We shall put in motion an immediate public audit of the banks, guarantee citizen deposits and then use that money for growth and a productive re-structuring of our country.
- Does that mean deposits will be freezed?
- We said we will provide guarantees, no deposits will be frozen.
- And how will that money be used for growth, when it belongs to Greek citizens?
- How would you want it used? Up until now, it has been used, to fund the profits of bank shareholders and bankers. Should it not be used to support market liquidity, to offer loans to small and medium sized business ventures, to offer loans to the public for houses, to offer consumer loans? It is all a matter of political direction.
Part of his positions were echoed by Alexis Tsipras, when he spoke from Parliament earlier, although neither he nor Stratoulis have made the details of their banking plan completely clear.
Pictured here during his earlier meeting with the Syriza chief, Democratic Left party leader Fotis Kouvelis has pledged his support to Alexis Tsipras, in his quest to form a coalition government. ”I told him that if he wants he can go ahead with a government of leftist parties, with the support of the Democratic Left,” he said.
4.15pm At a press conference in parliament, Alexis Tsipras has said that the country’s commitment to an EU/IMF rescue deal has become null after voters rejected pro-bailout parties in Sunday’s election. “The popular verdict clearly renders the bailout deal null.”
He said said that Antonis Samaras and Evangelos Venizelos must take back their written support for the memorandum – by writing a letter to Brussels informing them of this. He presented his policy platform which he said was based on 5 pillars:
1. Immediate begation of the memorandum
2. Negation of all coming measures that will affect all aspects of employment law
3. Immediate changes to election legislation and negation of the ministerial culpability law
4. State control of banks
5. The creation of an international auditing body, with the purpose of finding a serious and logical solution to Greece’s debt repayment.
He once again extended his hand to all powers of the left, praising KKE’s position on protecting the unemployed and said that he still aimed at forming a government with all parties supporting leftist and eco-friendly ideology.
He noted that the formation of a coalition government with New Democracy and Pasok, was not possible for they were not looking at saving the nation, but saving the memorandum.
Basically giving Merkel and Germany the bums rush on Austerity. If he succeeds in forming a government and pushing these reforms through – which is problematical at this point – it would signal an end to German economic hegemony and Spain and Ireland and possible Italy may follow.
Keeps your eyes pealed.