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Greece: Thrilling Gov’ Talks – Live Blogging from Athens

Wednesday afternoon finds Greek politicians at the pick of exploratory talks to form a government after public vote on May 6th failed to elect a clear winner with absolute or even relevant majority. 

On Tuesday, leader of second party, left wing  Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), Alexis Tsipras received the mandate from the president, after Nea Dimocratia-leader Antonis Samaras,  failed to form the government and returned the mandate after five hours, a day earlier.

Tsipras targets the establishment of a pro-European but anti-bailout government. So far he received the support of DEMOCRATIC LEFT Left of Fotis Kouvelis. But these two parties won’t bring a government of more than 71-seats in a 300-seats parliament. For more background about party leaders’ positions on coalition government options, read post of this morning here.

At 5 pm Tsipras met with Panos Kammenos of right-nationalist INDEPENDANT GREEKS.

 After the meeting Kammenos told the media, that he rejected Tsipras’ coalition offer as there is a gap on issues like illegal immigration, Western Thrace [Muslim minority] and the name of FYROM. Furthermore he said, that they can hardly establish a government because the ‘numbers of seats make it impossible’.

Speaking about the option of political leaders council under the president, in line with Tsipras, Kammenos asked ND and PASOK to annul their bailout commitments and commit themselves to a new policy programme so they could discuss the country’s governance on a new ground.

The President is expected to call on the political leaders to form a broader -national salvation/national unity – government, once the leaders of the first, second and third party have failed and returned their mandates. I bet on Friday….

Tsipras, Venizelos, Samaras

06:00 pm

Meeting between Tsipras and Venizelos (PASOK) started

 Tsipras will meet Samaras at 7 pm.

  06:40 pm

Rumors claimed,  PASOK had agreed  to sign Tsipras’ letter to Barroso, van Rompuy and Mario Draghi (ECB). In this letter Tsipras will write that ND/PASOK bailout are not legitimate as the two parties received only 32% of the votes of the Greek people.  

Tsipras was supposed to have sent the letter on Wednesday morning. So far, he had not.

  07:10 pm

Tsipras-Venizelos meeting concluded – waiting for Venizelos’ statements.

07:11 pm

On Monday Venizelos implied that if talks with Tsipras fruitless, he would not waste time trying to form a government when he receives the mandate by the president. He would ask the president to call political leaders council for national unity government.

 07:11 pm

German FinMin Wolfgang Schaeuble sent a message to Greece: Austerity or Out of Euro; leaders of Greek political parties have no time. (DER SPIEGEL)

 07:10 pm

Venizelos speaking:

Greek people want stability, no new elections, the country remains in the Euro…

I proposed Tsipras a pro-Europe national unitive government. SYRIZA-ND-PASOK-DEM.LEFT

Alternatively iI proposed PASOK support to a SYRIZa-DEM.LEFT-INDEPGreeks, provided he guarantees we stay in the euro.

We concluded that under current circumstances we can not agree, but we(PASOK) continue the effort. The mandate we will recieve  from the President gets a new meaning.

My target is national unity government of pro-Europe parties.

07:27 pm

Venizelos’s alternative: SYRIZA+DEMLEFT+INDEPGREEKS = 94 SEATS + PASOK support = total 135 SEATS – under certain circumstances they could build a weak gov, they could get vote of confidence with 120 votes (provided not all 300 MPs are present). HM….

They cannot even change the election law (50-seats bonus) as it requires 200 votes to be applied at the next elections. With 200- votes, it applies on the 2nd election.

 07:35 pm

Ealrlier Tsipras had asked for an apppointment with Francois Hollande, new French president. – Answer still open.

Reports claim also that Tsipras asked an appointment wiht German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but request was turned down.

07:39 pm

VENIZELOS on Twitter:

1) It has been understood that we cannot achieve a solution. Therefore the mandate we will receive tomorrow form the president gets a new meaning.

2) Tsipras asked me if we support an ecumenic government that will freeze the procedures. I answered: the country has no time to waste.
 
SYRISA/Tsipras want to freeze some of the fiscal adjustment procedures (not implementation of austerity measures in June for example) at least for some time.

07:40 pm

Tsipras – Samaras meeting started

07:50 pm

Rumors: SYRIZA party HQ apparently imposed a “TV and mass media” ban to newly elected MP Dimitris Stratoulis after his statements about “bank nationalization and using citizens’ bank deposits for development ” triggered turmoil and confusion among Greek citizens and caused Athen sStock Exchange to fall.

Before joining moderate-left and pro-Europe SYRIZA, Stratoulis was member of Greek Communist party KKE.

Once a communist always a communist….

07:59 pm

TSIPRAS -SAMARAS meeting concluded in 10 minutes.

No good….

08:03 pm

SYRIZA and INDEPGREEKS want ND and PASOK to withdraw their signatures from the bailout programme.

ND and INDEPGREEKS hate each other like no other. INDGR leader Kammenos was expelled ffrom ND by Samaras as he refused to vote for II bailout programme. Kammenos got 33 seats mainly due to former but disappointed ND voters.

Elections-defeated PASOK plays a bit here and a bit there

DEMOCRATIC LEFT supports SYRIZA and does not want to be the ‘left alibi’ of a ND/PASOK government.

Communist KKE rejects any form of coalition, wants EU and Euro zone exit.

Coalition government talks look like waste of time. Fresh elections could tak epart June 10th of June 17th 2012.

08:16 pm

While Greeks await the forming of the government, pressure from Greece’s lenders side increase – even to unlogical levels.

Earlier today EU Commission representative said that the bailout tranche, worth 5.5 billion euro would be given to Greece tomorrow thursday as planned.

While government talks are taking place, Amandeu Altafaz, representative of Eurogroup chief Jean Claude Juncker told AFP, that some countries may delay their contributions for tomorrow’s tranche.

what are these countries: the usual suspects and Germany’s satellites?

08:39 pm

Samaras speaking

I told Tsipras I support a national unity government with the participation of all parties. Even to support with “vote of tolerance” a minority government.

Tsipras asked me to withdraw my signature from the bailout programme and lead the country outside the euro.

ND cannot do this ….

 08:43 pm

Results:

VENIZELOS to Tsipras:

I can support you, only under the guarantee you won’t tak ethe country out of the euro.

SAMARAS to Tsipras:

I could support you but your forming an anti-bailout government takes the country out of the euro. 

We have to wait for Tsipras’s statements to see if a SYRIZA-DEMLEFT gov’ with the outside support of ND and PASOK has any chances.

Tsiprasis currently meeting with  SYRIZA parliamentary group. We may know his point of view either through leakages to the press or hhe will make statements afterwards.

Anyway, Tsipras appointment with the president is scheduled for 1 pm tomorrow Thursday.

09:05 pm

Tsipras addresses SYRIZA MPs is on live broacast at state NET …

09:o6 pm

EFSE decided to release the 5.2 billion euro bailout tranche to Greece during a teleconference tonight.

09:10 pm

Tsipras:

about Samaras and Venizelos: they cannot support their commitments (signatures to bailout) AND a left government.

I asked them a declaration of sincerity

on May 6th the country change the page

Today we have a great chance not only for Greece but also for Europe. A chance to overturn the austerity programmes. We have forced the whole Europe to speak about the Greek votes.

Popular vote is for immediate overturn of the austerity programme.

He spoke about freezing of fiscal adjustment implementation “June, July and after…” and blamed Samaras and Venizelos for having signed the bailout not for the shake of the people but for their own shake and their parties.

About Democratic Left: had we jointly come together at the elections, today we would be the first party. (52+19=71 =50 seats bonus = 121

09:20 pm

Tsipras:

We cannot make our dream of a left-government to come true. We have people’s support but not the parliament parties support.

We tried to avoid fresh elections, but Venizelos put the dilemma in front of us : either bailout programme implementation or fresh elections! He tried to support a SYRIZA-DEM LEFt gov with a vote of tolerance, a government that would perfome his own agenda.

Tomorrow I will return the mandate to the president. We will follow the president’s invitation when he calls political leaders’ council.

Alexis Tsipras will return the mandate 1 pm on Thursday. The president will give the mandate to Venizelos.

As bridges seem narrow, I assume he will push for a ND-PASOK-Democratic Left gov. I do not think, he will succeed.

Venizelos has 3 days to hold talks.

The President may call the political leaders council over the weekend, or even on Friday evening. State NET TV, just said, leaders council will be on Saturday.

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11 comments

  1. Dmitri Stratoulis’ proposal is but one of many, and quite frankly, when looking at how the global situation is likely to unfold, I don’t see how it is any less unrealistic than others’. If the mere association of communism scares one so much, perhaps it’s time to reconsider.

  2. keeptalkinggreece

    they can apply communism to the rich and very rich ….

  3. “In this letter Tsipras will write that ND/PASOK bailout are not legitimate as the two parties received only 32% of the votes of the Greek people.”
    Please, don’t let him make an utter fool of himself by really writing a letter like that!!! Any government in a democratic state is legitimate. And it’s treaties are therefore legitimate. You can ask for renegotiation, like Hollande seems to do, but declaring treaties null and void, when the other side is still keeping up its end off the bargain, is almost unprecedented.
    And I can totally understand why several foreign governments don’t want to pay out some billions at the moment to Greece, while its politicians are openly shouting that that money won’t be coming back to those countries.
    BTW and don’t anybody come with the idiotic argument that the last government wasn’t legitimate. If it wasn’t there should be prosecutions by now and Tsipras first demand should have been just that: prosecuting those alleged criminals who did such illegal things.
    Step by step it is looking more and more that the lunatics are taking over the asylum.

  4. KTG, thanks for the live-blogging. Today started for me 10 days or straight work from morning till late in the evening. So I am almost not able to follow the news anymore. And then having a good blow-by-blow description like this before going to bed is great!

  5. Only treatis which correspond with election programme of winning parties are legitimate. Referendum is necessary in other cases .

  6. Tsipras really has to mature. You don’t engage in foreign politics by makng such “my way or the highway” demands. At least not if you’re not a superpower. He should follow Francois Hollande’s lead instead – stomp for a European growth pact that creates new jobs, and try to ease some conditions of the austerity deal (instead of stubbornly declaring it “null and void”). Of course, the young Syriza leader doesn’t have any experience yet on the slippery grounds of international politcs, but he’ll have to learn at record speed now if he wants to be taken seriously as a new Greek heavyweight that has to be reconned with.

    Looks like he’s much more savvy when it comes to inter-party politics. After a half hearted try to get the communists on board of a coalition, which, unsurprisingly, was rejected by those stupid Stalinists, he engaged in talks with parties that didn’t even win any seats in the last election. This sure was surprising for many foreign observers (for instance, me 😀 ), but actually makes sense. After all, Syriza is a coalition of small left wing parties, and if Tsipras manages to get more of these into his group, he can increase the votes for his party in the next election round. Seems it is possible that two parties representing about 6% of the vote will join, and this would push Syriza towards the #1 spot as the strongest party. With the additional 50 seats gained, Tsipras could be in a very good position to form a left wing government in summer. The young Radical Left coalition chief may not really act like a Prime Minister yet, but it would be stupid to underestimate him!

  7. It’s unprecedented to rip up Treaties, but it is also unprecedented the extent to which today’s politicians are signing away sovereignty without the explicit consent (by referendum) of the people. Often when they know it is against the will of the people. Papadopoulos was forced out of office when he suggested asking the people for consent, and replaced by a bureaucrat.

    How can the Lisbon Treaty be legitimate in France and Denmark, when it was referendum rejected when called the EU Constitution, but then just re-labeled and signed off by the politicians ?

  8. keeptalkinggreece

    no time for news? imagine, you come backa fter 10 days and we still have Papademos as PM…

  9. keeptalkinggreece

    yeah, Greeks are often good for surprises lol IF you’re young you can definetely engage the highway-way. Furthermore, think a bit about the party structures, decision bodies are more active than in the monolythic parties, where leader works out strategies his close aides and the rest has no idea.

  10. keeptalkinggreece

    Papandreou… and yet to his suggestion, even Greek people were against. Too late, too dangerous, too meaningless and people were suspicious.

  11. Ah, thanks. I got confused.