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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-11-07
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 7 November 2011 Issue No: 3926
 Papandreou to step down; talks over new gov't beginGreek Prime Minister George Papandreou confirmed on Sunday evening that he will not lead a new consensus government expected to be announced on Monday or in the next few days.
The development was conveyed via a brief written statement issued by the president of the republic's office after the end of a 1 1/2-hour meeting chaired by President Karolos Papoulias with Papandreou and main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras.
The announcement stated that the new government will be assigned the eagerly watched task of ratifying and implementing the latest agreements with Eurozone partners and creditors -- emanating from the Oct. 26, 2011 EU summit -- before leading the country to snap elections, although no specific date was cited. ment stated that Papandreou and Samaras will confer on Monday to agree over the individual invited to assume the premiership and other members of the new national unity government.
Representatives of both the prime minister and the main opposition leader will also meet on Monday morning, or even overnight, for negotiations towards this end, the announcement read.
On the crucial economic front, a high-ranking delegation of finance ministry officials, including Finance Minister and Deputy PM Evangelos Venizelos, was scheduled to meet before midnight in Athens with a trio of top economic advisers close to Samaras, given that another crucial Eurogroup is scheduled for Monday in Brussels.
Finally, Papoulias will convene a council of Parliament-represented political leaders on Monday.
Within an hour of the announcement, the Communist Party (KKE) said its leader, Aleka Papariga, would not participate in the meeting to be convened by Papoulias. Coalition of the Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras also announced that he would not attend.
Conversely, Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) president George Karatzaferis said he will attend.
 Gov't, ND react to Papandreou-Samaras agreementThe first reaction by the government to the Papandreou-Samaras agreement, which foresees a new consensus government without the former, PM George Papandreou, at its head, cited a "historic" political achievement.
Government spokesman and minister of State Ilias Mossialos also confirmed that a meeting, scheduled for late Sunday night or early Monday morning, between the government's and ND's top economic teams will focus on fulfilling a deadline to implement the paramount Oct. 26 Eurozone agreements. Moreover, he said FinMin and Deputy PM Evangelos Venizelos will represent Greece at Monday's Eurogroup meeting in Brussels.
On the all-important issue of when early elections will be held, he said a date will come after the complete implementation of the Oct. 26 decisions.
As per main opposition New Democracy, officials with the party merely replied that the "first phase went well", particularly over the primary condition of Papandreou stepping aside to make way for a new consensus government.
"We must now see the second phase, which is underway," a top cadre told AMNA, adding that Samaras insisted throughout negotiations with Papandreou that a declaration of early elections take place "immediately" after implementation of the agreements with creditors and lenders.
 PM briefs president on results of confidence votePresident of Republic Karolos Papoulias on Saturday received Prime Minister George Papandreou at the presidential mansion, a day after the latter received a confidence vote for his government -- 153 to 145, with only ruling PASOK party MPs voting in favour.
After the meeting, Papandreou told waiting reporters that "yesterday (Friday) Parliament gave a vote of confidence to the government and today I visited the president to brief him on the results of the procedure, and to contribute to the formation of a government of broad cooperation".
Papandreou said the aim of his government is to see through ratification of draft laws and to take all necessary steps for the implementation of the "historical decisions" of Oct. 26, as he called the 50-percent "haircut" of the Greek debt, adding "implementation of the agreement safeguards the country's membership in the Eurozone".
Concluding, the Greek prime minister noted that necessary procedures will be held within a short period of time on the creation of consensus government.
 Gov't spokesman: Negotiations underway over new unity gov't, PMThe government spokesman announced on Sunday morning, speaking on a current affairs TV programme, that an agreement over a coalition or unity government could be worked out the same day, while adding that the name of a new prime minister could also be announced.
Spokesman Ilias Mossialos underlined that negotiations are underway, clarifying that the name of the new premier must be announced by tomorrow. However, he cautioned that current Prime Minister George Papandreou would resign only when the two issues are finalised.
Moreover, he said a council of political party leaders would be convened in the wake of such an agreement, adding that all procedures would be finalised in the coming week in order for a vote of confidence to be taken in Parliament.
In response to raging domestic and international media attention, Mossialos said it was "necessary" for both major parties (ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy) to participate in such a government, without however, the presence of lesser Parliament-represented parties ruled out.
Queried over details, the spokesman also said that such a government would be short-lived, and could accommodate both politicians and technocrats.
In light of the whirlwind political developments in Greece - and unprecedented international media scrutiny - a Cabinet meeting chaired by Papandreou will convene at 4 p.m. (14.00 GMT) instead of 6 p.m., although government and PASOK party meetings often begin with delay. Officially, a briefing on the Oct. 26 Eurozone decisions, i.e. the Greek debt 'haircut' and an accompanying new lending agreement, along with the still delayed 6th tranche of the first bailout package, will be discussed.
On the other side of the "political fence", main opposition New Democracy party cadres have been quoted as saying the party will agree to such a prospect as long as a transitional government lasts no longer than six weeks, time enough to ratify and implement a series of landmark recent agreements Athens has signed with its creditors.
Former minister and top cadre Andreas Lykourentzos, amongst others, said the President of the Republic, whom ND leader Antonis Samaras will meet on Sunday, has the responsibility for determining the tenure of such a government.
 Samaras: Papandreou must resignMain opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras reiterated on Sunday, immediately after his meeting with President of Republic Karolos Papoulias, that any unity or coalition government to be formed in debt-plagued Greece necessitates Prime Minister George Papandreou's resignation from the post.
After a 10-minute meeting in the presidential mansion, Samaras told reporters that "as long as Mr. Papandreou does not decide what he will do, he is impeding any solution and blocking procedures. I am determined to help (this procedure for forming a new government) but Mr. Papandreou must resign."
 ND leader: Elections now, in order to exit 'nightmare'Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader on Saturday reiterated in no uncertain terms that his party demands PM George Papandreou's resignation and snap elections, while at the same time saying his party's will honor Eurozone commitments.
A day after an embattled Papandreou won a confidence vote in Parliament, backed by 153 MPs of the ruling party, Samaras pointed directly at Papandreou's surprise decision to hold a referendum over the latest Eurozone lending deal for Greece, causing "huge turmoil in Europe and blocking the sixth tranche of the IMF-ECB-EU loan," as he said.
"New Democracy immediately took the initiative in order to restore the significant damage (done) and to diminish an even greater danger ... We have announced that we accept the new (lending) agreement for a 50-percent 'haircut' of the Greek debt, which we had already considered as inevitable. Mr. Papandreou, with his actions for a referendum, blocked the disbursement of the sixth tranche ... We unblocked it by accepting the Oct. 26 agreement".
Moreover, Samaras repeated his call for a transitional government and elections as soon as possible.
"We did not demand seats in this government, our only request was for Mr. Papandreou to resign, because he is dangerous for the country," Samaras emphasised, adding that this position was welcomed not only in Greece but also internationally.
"Yesterday, Mr. Papandreou asked for a vote of confidence to ... resign; he asked for a vote of confidence for the current government in order to change it with another, although it appears that it will remain the same, and furthermore, he announced that he is not preparing a government for a short period of time but one with a full four-year term.
"Mr. Papandreou is not looking for a national salvation government, he is attempting to entrap everyone in his personal and deadend choices. The country needs a government with a strong mandate by the people. And that's why we insist on immediate elections. Our aim is to stabilise the country and to restore its image, exiting this nightmare as soon as possible."
 Gov't spokesman reiterates call for unity gov't"Prime Minister George Papandreou has repeatedly clarified his position in public on the need to form a broad coalition government in order to assist national interests and the immediate implementation of the Oct. 26 decisions," government spokesman Ilias Mossialos said on Saturday, referring to main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras' statements.
"The prime minister did not set a condition of leading such a government, on the contrary, he referred to a joint recruiting for such an individual, who will be at the helm".
Mossialos said the government is stable and called on all parties, particularly the main opposition, to show a spirit of good will, reiterating that the prime minister explained why snap elections would be catastrophic for the country.
"The question is whether Mr. Samaras wants to support this national effort or if he is looking for excuses," he added.
 KKE criticises plans for cooperation gov'tThe Communist Party (KKE) on Sunday stated that the safeguarding of the 6th tranche of a EC-IMF-ECB bailout loan is an "excuse" for the formation of a cooperation government by the country's mainstream political system.
"...this is the demand of Greek plutocracy and EU. Their aim is not to save the people but to subject them and lead them to an even greater massacre via the loan agreement and the Memoranda of bankruptcy.
 LA.O.S leader: 'Nat'l salvation gov't' without ND 'crippled'Popular Orthodox Party (LA.O.S) leader George Karatzaferis on Saturday met with close associates to discuss the latest fluid political development in the country and to define his party's positions.
According to party sources, Karatzaferis said he considers the issue of who will be proposed to succeed Prime Minister George Papandreou as paramount. Moreover, he noted that a government of "national salvation" without main opposition New Democracy's (ND) participation is 'crippled'.
Along those lines, he said that ND leader Antonis Samaras could be persuaded to support such a coalition government if the person proposed enjoys broad political recognition.
Finally, Karatzaferis underlined that the entire process must be shephered by the President of the Republic and not George Papandreou, because "if Papandreou manages developments then the whole effort is doomed from the beginning."
 LA.O.S leader: We must accelerate procedures"Prime Minister George Papandreou has essentially resigned and what remains now is the official procedure," Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) leader George Karatzaferis said on Sunday, adding that deadlines are asphyxiating.
 SYRIZA leader: Ready for snap electionsCoalition of the Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras said the grouping will move dynamically to reverse the political situation formed by any cooperation between the two mainstream and other parties, speaking during an urgent party committee meeting on Sunday.
Tsipras requested from all SYRIZA cadres to be ready for elections.
 Democratic Alliance reactionThe Democratic Alliance party on Saturday called for the immediate formation of a national salvation government within 48 hours.
Sources said party founder Dora Bakoyannis underlined that a government must be formed until Monday and that the President of Republic should invite political leaders to present their views.
 Katseli back in PASOK parliamentary groupMP and former minister Louka Katseli was reinstated into ruling PASOK party's Parliamentary group immediately after voting in favour of giving the Papandreou government a vote of confidence, at the end of a marathon debate in Parliament that wound up at 1:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Katseli was thrown out of PASOK's Parliamentary group after voting against controversial Article 37 of an omnibus bill in October regulating labour relations. That vote prompted Prime Minister George Papandreou to order her expulsion, which lasted less than a month.
 Archibishop asks parties to perform their 'nat'l duty'Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos on Sunday proceeded with a rare intervention into the latest political developments plaguing the country, stressing in a statement that political parties must now do "their duty."
The statement was posted on the Archiodecese's webpage.
"In these crucial hours for the country, there is no time for mistakes, or for thoughts that do not serve but the national good. I ask from the responsible political powers of the country to do their national duty by undertaking their historical responsibilities in the country's interest best interests."
 IIF dep. managing director: Greece will return to markets after 2015Institute of International Finance (IIF) deputy managing director Hung Tran expressed his conviction that Greece will be able to return to markets after 2015 if it implements the reforms, at an interview carried by the Athens daily "RealNews".
"From now and in two to three years, if Greece continues on a course of improvement, it will be ready to return to the markets" he noted. Tran underlines that the IIF is closely watching development in Greece and expressed a hope that things will be settled soon. However he noted that the Oct. 26 agreement must be implemented as soon as possible.
 Film director Alexander Payne at Thessaloniki film festivalGreek-American film director Alexander Payne on Sunday touched on the ongoing economic crisis in Greece, calling it "something terrible, disappointing and horrible, but crises, sometimes bear substantial things in art."
Payne is a special guest at the 52rd Thessaloniki film festival, which opened on Saturday with a press conference ahead of a screening of the Nebraska native's latest film, entitled "The descendants".
The noted director said he wants to learn Greek, come and live in Greece and even shoot a film in the country, adding that he is optimistic over the future of the so-called 'anthropocentric cinema'.
He also praised the performances of the star of his latest film, actor George Clooney, as well as the protagonist of his previous film, Jack Nicholson.
Payne's film was screened out of competition on Friday at the opening of Thessaloniki Film Festival
 Drug dealing arrest in NW GreeceA 39-year-old woman was arrested on Saturday near the village of Kotsika, in extreme northwestern Greece, and charged with drug dealing after police spotted a car moving suspiciously in the border region.
A search of the vehicle revealed 187 packages containing 235 kilos of cannabis.
According to police the drugs were smuggled from Albania.
 Scattered clouds on MondayScattered clouds and variable winds are forecast for Monday. Wind velocity will reach 7 on the Beaufort scale. Cloudy in most parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 3C-21C, mostly fair on the islands, 13C-20C. Fair in Athens, 8C-21C; Cloudy in Thessaloniki, 5C-16C.
 Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glanceThe most serious political crisis in the country after the restoration of democracy in 1974 dominated the headlines in the Sunday papers, with reports and forecasts over what PM George Papandreou, main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras and other leaders will decide and announce.
AVGHI: "Backroom dealing to save Memorandum".
AVRIANI: "Stand fast, Antonis (Samaras, the main opposition leader)".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "High-stakes poker with coalition government".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "A return to chaos - Widespread mistrust only hours after confidence vote".
EPOCHI (weekly): "Salvation government to ... save Memorandum".
ETHNOS: "Political deliberations amid parties for unity government".
Free Sunday: "George leaving, Antonis arriving".
KATHIMERINI: "Political bargaining on deck of Titanic (Greece)".
PROTO THEMA (weekly): "Consensus government between ... Papandreou, Venizelos".
REALNEWS (weekly): "Venizelos the new likely PM, especially if ND stands by its refusal".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Alignment with communist KKE the only solution for popular classes".
TO PARON (weekly): "He's (Papandreou) grappling his chair (premiership) - Papandreou fooled them all, and he's fool (FinMin and Deputy PM Evangelos) Venizelos".
VIMA: "Political power games between euro and drachma - Mr. Papandreou declares he's ready to resign... but he is not believed".
VRADYNI: "Yes to euro, no to (ruling) PASOK".
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