Selasa, 10 April 2012

Election items and the protest by small bondholder who got smashed by the PSI....

PM Papademos poised to announce May 6 elections

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos is expected to meet President Karolos Papoulias at 5 p.m. on Wednesday and announce that Greece is to hold what promise to be its most intensely contested elections in several decades on May 6.
Sources told Kathimerini that Papademos decided on the date about three weeks ago but had to wait for legislation linked to Greece’s second bailout to pass through Parliament before he could formalize his choice. A Labor Ministry bill relating to social security reform approved by MPs on Tuesday left the path clear for the interim prime minister to meet Papoulias.
Papademos favored May 6 for the elections in order to give the new government as much time as possible to prepare for key meetings later in the month, including a Eurogroup, a European Union leaders’ summit, and the May 21 NATO summit in Chicago. According to sources, the premier also had his eye on the June visit of officials from the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, collectively known as the troika. Greece will have to agree on more than 11 billion euros of savings for 2013 and 2014 then. It is possible that the new government will have to adopt extra measures for this year as well.
Sources said it was also clear to Papademos that his short-term coalition could not hold together much longer as cooperation between PASOK and New Democracy cabinet members had deteriorated in the last couple of weeks as both parties began to look toward the elections.
Papademos is due to meet the Cabinet at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. After meeting the president to inform him of the election date, the prime minister is due to address the nation, as the outcome of the imminent polls remains in the balance. Opinion polls indicate it is still unclear whether PASOK and ND will get a large enough combined vote to form a new coalition government. There is also uncertainty over how many parties will enter Parliament and whether another type of unity administration will be possible.
The May 6 election date gives the parties the minimum time of 25 days that the constitution allows for them to prepare for polling day. A cross-party electoral committee is due to meet on Tuesday to allocate TV airtime to the groups. The parties will have to name their candidates by April 20 and submit their lists to the Supreme Court by April 25. April 20 will also be the last day on which opinion polls can be published in Greece.


Venizelos wants PASOK to play 'leading role' in coalition

 PASOK chief Evangelos Venizelos addressing Parliament on Tuesday.
In what is likely to be his last speech in Parliament before the 300-seat House is dissolved ahead of elections, the leader of socialist PASOK, Evangelos Venizelos, said his party was prepared to play a “leading role” in a new coalition government.
Venizelos’s speech appeared to come in response to the insistence of the leader of conservative New Democracy, Antonis Samaras, that his party will garner adequate support for a parliamentary majority. Opinion polls put ND ahead of PASOK but suggest that neither of the two parties will amass enough votes to rule independently. “We want victory in the elections. That means we want to come first and have a decisive role in developments so we can rally the forces that will tackle the crisis,” Venizelos said. The PASOK leader admitted that PASOK was guilty of “mistakes,” “erroneous assessments,” “delays” and “a lack of courage of speed.” He also criticized Samaras for having an “equivocal stance, reminiscent of old-style politics,” and of “hiding behind” PASOK during negotiations with foreign creditors.
Declaring that Greece is “two-thirds of the way to exiting the crisis,” Venizelos also highlighted five priorities: seeking the extension of the country’s rescue program to the end of 2015, taking advantage of the opportunity offered by last month’s private sector bond swap (PSI), completing the recapitalization of banks, increasing the absorption of European Union funding and speeding up privatizations, and protecting those on low incomes.
The party’s national council is to convene on Wednesday to finalize names on the list of electoral candidates including Environment and Energy Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou and Deputy Defense Minister Yiannis Ragousis. Some party members would prefer them not to be on PASOK’s ticket.


Small bondholders march against Greek debt swap loss

Greek small bondholders who suffered losses from the country’s debt restructuring last month marched to parliament in Athens on Tuesday, vowing to take the government to court over the hit on their savings.
Greece completed the bulk of a mammoth debt exchange last month, reducing its public debt by about 100 billion euros.
Private creditors swapped Greek government bonds for new ones, incurring a 53.5 percent nominal writedown.
”We don’t want the haircut to hit individual bondholders, we have hired lawyers to pursue this,” said pensioner Vangelis Korelis, 70, who marched with a group of about 100 protesters to parliament and the nearby finance ministry.
About 3,200 bondholders out of an estimated 11,000 have joined forces in an association, said Korelis, who put savings into a five-year government bond that paid a coupon of 6.1 percent in 2010, better than what banks were paying depositors at the time.
”The finance ministry had said there would be some type of relief for individual bondholders but after the swap was done this was forgotten,” he said.
He said the government should offer relief on individual bondholdings up to 100,000 euros, similar to the state guarantee on bank deposits.
The government has been quietly avoiding the issue as it is set to settle a remaining 20.27 billion euros of foreign-law bonds under the swap on April 11, while also trying to get more holdouts to join in.
Relief for individual bondholders could raise issues of equal treatment.
Greece had offered tax incentives to individual investors on its bonds. Those who bought government paper no later than five days after it was issued and held on until maturity were exempt from the 10 percent tax on the earned interest.
Greek individual investors who opted for this held about 1.1 billion euros of government paper, according to official estimates.
”They tricked us,” said protester Yannis Marinopoulos, who heads the association. ”They need to find a formula to compensate us.” [Reuters]


Samaras Warns Again Of Fresh Elections

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Antonis Samaras, head of the center-right New Democracy party and most likely to win coming Greek elections, warned again he may force a second poll if he is unable to secure a majority in parliament.
Speaking to privately-owned Mega television channel, Samaras was cool to the idea of forming a coalition with the rival Socialist, or Pasok, party. Opinion polls show the two parties, Greece’s largest, will have to work together to push through the country’s reform agenda that is needed if Greece is to qualify for a new EUR130 billion bailout package from international lenders.
“Like all big teams, I am entering the playing field with the aim to win. I’m not in it to draw or to lose. And if I am unable to form a government, what can I do? The question is: will the country remain without a government? Necessarily so. Not due to my doing. We will have to go to elections again,” Samaras said in the interview aired late Monday.
Elections, widely expected for May 6, are likely to be announced this week. Surveys show the popularity of Greece’s two mainstream political parties, which back the country’s interim coalition government, at an all-time low.
In the interview, Samaras raised doubts over whether he would continue to work with Pasok after the elections.
“I don’t trust Pasok,” Samaras said. “I want to change Greece. I don’t want to divvy up ministries. I don’t want the forbearance of Pasok. I want the mandate of the Greek people.”It is at least the third time he has raised the prospect of a second set of elections.

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