Selasa, 10 April 2012

AS expected , not only are Pasok and ND falling in absolute number , but the outsiders trying to influence the election will backfire against the two major parties

Press Watch, Apr 10
by George Gilson10 Apr 2012
The seamen’s strike Tuesday and Wednesday captured broad attention, as the press roundly criticised the strikers (File photo)
The seamen’s strike Tuesday and Wednesday captured broad attention, as the press roundly criticised the strikers (File photo)
The latest pre-election survey places Pasok a mere four percentage points behind News Democracy. The GPO/Mega poll also found that Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos is best qualified for the post of prime minister.
The findings are the best example of the fluidity of the political system. Most would consider it truly amazing that the party that dragged Greece into the clutches of the IMF – slashing wages and pensions – is so close to the party that is in the first place in the polls.
What is most noteworthy, however, is the fact that the two biggest parties have record low polling numbers – 18 percent for New Democracy and 14 percent for Pasok. That means that the electorate is determined to punish with a vengeance the parties they blame for the economic disaster. It also means, to the dismay of the EU-IMF creditors, that the two big parties might not garner a parliamentary majority.
ND leader Antonis Samaras is paying dearly for his spectacular flip flop. After over a year of unleashing vitriolic attacks against the bailout memorandum, he became a backer and apologist for the second memorandum, which is widely viewed as worse than the first, as it slashes wages and pensions, allows for the seizure of state assets, and totally deregulates labour relations.
The seamen’s strike Tuesday and Wednesday captured broad attention, as the press roundly criticised the strikers because their action would be yet another blow for tourism. Aside for the total deregulation of labour relations by the troika and the government – at the behest of Greek business, many believe – the practice of bashing labour action as irresponsible and blasting unions for allegedly having accrued too many privileges is a key element of the EU-IMF bailout era.
Fortunately, the government decided against a civil mobilisation of mariners, as such a measure could cause serious civil unrest at a time that Greek society is a veritable tinderbox.
Monday’s parliamentary vote to grant political parties a future instalment of their guaranteed state funding also garnered intense media attention.
Though it passed by a fairly narrow majority, the new law was seen as further evidence that the most powerful union with the most outlandish perks and privileges is the Greek parliament itself. Suffice it to say that that the parties until now received large bank loans, using their future state funding as collateral.
“The damage was done, the PNO [seamen’s union] insists” declared Kathimerini’s headline. The paper reported that the government is prepared to get tougher if the strike drags on beyond Wednesday night.
“Intense annoyance in Pasok over Yiannis Ragousis” read another title, regarding the alternate defence minister, who decided to abstain from the vote on party funding and blasted the bill. His colleagues viewed him as holier than thou. Undoubtedly, they think that he wants to create a clean hands image so as to gain electoral advantage. Most Pasok MPs will not be re-elected, if current polls are accurate, so the competition between them is intense.
“In the socket from DEI [Public Power Corporation]” declared Ta Nea’s headline. The story said that electricity prices will be deregulated in 2013, leading to skyrocketing electric prices. “How the KKE [Communist Party] imposed the seamen’s strike” read another title, referring to charges by Development Minister Anna Diamantopoulou.
“[IMF Chief Christine] Lagarde-[German Finance Minister Wolfgang] Schaeuble set the line for elections” read another title. The two appeared on famed American TV news magazine 60 Minutes, and they had very interesting views about the Greek election.
Lagarde, in an outburst of Gallic gall, suggested that Greeks should not vote for smaller parties. Schaeuble, with exemplary German diplomacy, referred to the election as an “obstacle”, the paper reported.


News bites @ 9
by Damian Mac Con Uladh10 Apr 2012
A man rides a horse on the beach at Nea Kios, Argolida, 10 April 2012 (Eurokinissi)
A man rides a horse on the beach at Nea Kios, Argolida, 10 April 2012 (Eurokinissi)
1. NO SAILINGS Passenger ships will remain docked at ports throughout the country on Tuesday and Wednesday, following the decision by mariners' federation PNO to go ahead with industrial action. The strike has been widely condemned, with hoteliers saying it exacerbates an already bleak situation on the bookings front. On Zakynthos, hotels are reporting a 50 percent reduction in Easter occupancy, and on Crete 30 percent.
2. PARTY ON Political parties will get a 29m euro windfall of state funding six months early to help finance their election campaign,following a vote by MPs that triggered a furious reaction from newly formed opposition parties. MPs voted 155–56 for parties to receive annual funding in one payment instead of two. Supporting the proposal were New Democracy and Pasok, which have combined debts of 250m euros. Opposing was the Popular Orthodox Rally (Laos), the Radical Left Coalition (Syriza), Democratic Left and various other independent deputies. The Communists voted "present". The clause was also opposed by three Pasok MPs.
3. ONE-MAN SHOW New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras has said that if the planned elections do not produce a "majority government", then new elections will have to follow. In an interview with Mega TV, Samaras reiterated his plea that his party be given a majority: "I want to have my hands free in order to take the necessary decisions," he said, emphatically ruling out continuing the coalition government with Pasok after the polls.
4. NEW POLL Support for Pasok and New Democracy remains low as leftwing, anti-bailout parties make gains ahead of the anticipated general election, a poll showed on Tuesday. The GPO/Mega poll puts New Democracy at 18.2 percent (down from 19.4 percent in February), while Pasok stands at 14.2 percent (up from 13.1 percent). Based on current poll numbers, New Democracy would fail to win an absolute majority. Other parties: Communist Party (KKE) 8%, Radical Independent Greeks 7%, Left Coalition (Syriza) 6.2 %, Democratic Left 5.9%, Popular Orthodox Rally (Laos) 4% and Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avyi) 3.1.
5. LAOS GOES BARBA In a clear attempt to boost his party's flagging fortunes, Popular Orthodox Rally (Laos) leader Yiorgos Karazaferis on Monday announced the inclusion of an actress to his party's election ticket. Former Miss Greece Vana Barba will run for the party in the Athens' second constituency.
6. ATHENS AGAIN The centre of the capital can look forward to a 1.5bn euro regeneration project, set to run from 2014 to 2020, after the relevant agreement was signed on Monday between the city's mayor and the government. The “Athens Again” project, which has the approval of the European Commission Task Force for Greece, is an attempt to breathe new life into the Athens. Among the envisaged projects is the refurbishment of derelict hotels and renting them out to startups and the construction of cycle lanes.
7. PHOTOVOLTAIC SURGE The capacity of photovoltaic output in Greece more than tripled in 2011 on the previous year, while the renewable energy sources increased by 74 percent, the Environment, Energy and Climate Change ministry said on Monday. In a report, the ministry said that the capacity of renewable energy sources grew by 770MW in 2011, to surpass 2,500MW. Photovoltaic systems recorded the biggest growth rate (from 198MW to 626MW in 2011, for an increase of 215 percent). Windpower now has a total power capacity of 1,636 MW, and small hydroelectric power units 206MW.
8. MIGRANTS RESCUED Police on Monday rescued four undocumented migrants who got stranded on an islet in the middle of the Evros River while trying to enter the country. The four migrants, three from the Dominican Republic and one from Sierra Leone, were spotted by a patrol and brought to the Greek river bank aboard an inflatable craft. They were taken to a border guard station at Didymoticho.
9. COLD FRONT Unseasonably cold weather with rain and snowfall enveloped parts of northern Greece on Monday. Scattered drizzle was reported recorded in Thessaloniki with temperatures falling below 10C. Single-digit temperatures were recorded in western Macedonia, with snowfall in the mountainous regions of Grevena, Kozani and Florina, where in some areas drivers had can to resort to snow chains. 

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