Wednesday, 31 May 2023

222 Posts in Politics

Athens
30
05
2023
The decree, co-signed by caretaker Prime Minister Ioannis Sarmas, was posted on the parliament's announcements board by the Parliament Guard. It also sets the time and date when the parliament that emerges from the June 25 runoff election will convene, this being 11:00 am on Monday, July 3.
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Athens
29
05
2023
No party achieved an overall majority in the election on May 21, which was held under simple proportional representation. The ruling New Democracy, with 40.79% of the vote, won 146 seats, five short of an overall majority in the 300-member chamber. The main opposition Syriza, with 20.07% - almost 11.5 points lower than in the previous election – won 71. The socialist PASOK was third. There was no attempt to form a coalition and the leaders of the three main parties returned their mandates to form a government almost as soon as they got them. A constitutionally mandated meeting on Wednesday with President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and all five leaders of the parties represented in parliament merely confirmed that a second election would take place. A caretaker government headed by a senior judge was sworn in Thursday.
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Athens
29
05
2023
The final results of percentages, parliamentary seats and number of votes for each party are as follows: New Democracy: 40.79%, 146 seats, 2,407,860 votes Syriza-Progressive Alliance: 20.07%, 71 seats, 1,184,500 votes Pasok-Movement For Change: 11.46%, 41 seats, 676,166 votes Communist Party of Greece (KKE): 7.23%, 26 seats, 426,741 votes Greek Solution: 4.45%, 16 seats, 262,529 votes The parties that could not elect an MP account for 16.01% of votes, while the three parties that came close to passing the 3% threshold to enter parliament fared as follows: Νiki: 2.92%, 172,208 votes Plefsi Eleftherias: 2.89%, 170,298 votes MeRA25: 2.63%, 155,085 votes Parties also registered the following changes in their electoral performance compared to the 2019 national elections: New Democracy: +0.94% SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance: -11.46% PASOK-Movement For Change: +3.35% Communist Party of Greece (KKE): +1.93% Greek Solution: +0.74% Plefsi Eleftherias: +1.42% MeRA25: -0.82% The number of people registered in electoral lists totals 9,946,082. Of these, 6,061,098 voted on May 21, a 60.94% participation rate.  Valid ballots numbered 5,902,850 (97.36%), void ones 123,488 (2.04%) and blank ones 34,760 (0.57%).
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Athens
27
05
2023
“I wish you all success in your work. I called you here because I wanted to provide you with some directions as you assume your ministries, in preparation for Saturday’s regular cabinet meeting,” said Sarmas, a senior judge, at the beginning of his address at the Maximos Mansion. Regarding Saturday’s session, he said, “It will define the government’s policies, which are intended for the upcoming few weeks.” “Our government is an interim government led by one of the presidents of the three highest courts. The essence of the judicial function is independence and impartiality. This means that the aim of the Constitution is [to establish] an independent, politically and party-neutral government. This is our primary duty,” he said.           “We must maintain neutrality, impartiality, and objectivity. We need to carefully consider the consequences of our actions, ensuring they are not perceived as favoring or opposing any political faction in the upcoming electoral campaign,” he said. The customary handover ceremonies of the ministries will take place later in the day.
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Athens
26
05
2023
The key ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs will be headed respectively by former chief of the Army General Staff and former Deputy Minister, General Alkiviadis Stefanis, and Ambassador (ret.) Vassilis Kaskarelis. Former chief of Army General Staff, General Charalambos Lalousis, will head the Citizen Protection Ministry, while journalist Ilias Siakantaris will take over as government spokesperson. The new cabinet will be sworn in before Hellenic Republic President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and newly appointed Hellenic Prime Minister Ioannis Sarmas at 12:00 on Friday (May 26th). Moreover, Outgoing Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos will hand over the ministry portfolio to caretaker minister Ambassador Vassilis Kaskarelis at 13:00 on Friday. The hand over will be preceded by the swearing-in ceremony of the entire caretaker cabinet at 12:00 noon, in the presence of President of the Rebuplic Katerina Sakellaropoulou and caretaker Prime Minister Ioannis Sarmas.   THE NEW CABINET   Prime Minister: Ioannis Sarmas State Minister: Vasilios Skouris Finance Minister: Theodoros Pelagidis Development and Investments Minister: Eleni Louri Foreign Affairs Minister: Vasilios Kaskarelis National Defense Minister: Alkiviadis Stefanis Education and Religion Minister: Christos Kittas Labor and Social Affairs Minister: Patrina Paparrigopoulou Health Minister: Anastasia Kotanidou Environment and Energy Minister: Pantelis Kapros Citizen Protection Minister: Charalambos Lalousis Culture and Sports Minister: George Koumentakis Justice Minister: Filippos Spyropoulos Interior Minister: Kalliopi Spanou Migration and Asylum Minister: Daniil Esdras Digital Governance Minister: Sokratis Katsikas Infrastructure and Transport Minister: Yiannis Golias Shipping and Island Policy Minister: Theodoros Kliaris Agricultural Development and Foods Minister: Georgios Tsakiris Tourism Minister: Ioanna Dretta Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Minister: Evangelos Tournas Government spokesperson: Ilias Siakantaris (Updated to add Infrastructure minister)
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Athens
25
05
2023
Sarmas, 66, will be sworn in Thursday and lead a caretaker government until a new election next month, according to government officials. The vote is widely expected to be held on June 25 but has not been formally confirmed. His appointment was announced after the conservative New Democracy party of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis won a landslide victory in a general election Sunday, beating his left-wing opponents by 20 percentage points but falling short of a parliamentary majority. Next month’s election will take place under a different system which boosts the winning party. Mitsotakis and the leaders of four other political parties represented in parliament held a joint meeting Wednesday with President Katerina Sakellaropoulou to discuss arrangements for the upcoming election.
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Athens
24
05
2023
But the process is not expected to succeed as the top three parties have already rejected separate mandates to form a coalition, opening the way for new elections next month. President Katerina Sakellaropoulou invited the leaders of the five parties whose share of votes surpassed the threshold of 3% for talks. The conservative New Democracy party of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, which romped to victory polling 40.1%, but fell short of an outright majority, has turned down a mandate for a governing coalition. It is pushing for a second vote on June 25th, hoping to govern on its own. The leaders of the two main opposition parties, leftist Syriza and Socialist PASOK, have also declined separate offers to seek a coalition after failing to secure the necessary number of seats in the 300-seat legislature. The Communist KKE party and the small right-wing Hellenic Solution, which also made it to parliament, have been reluctant to join forces with others. Sakellaropoulou is now expected to appoint a senior judge to lead a caretaker government in the run-up to new elections tentatively set for June 25th. In the Greek electoral system, the winner of a second vote following an inconclusive first election receives 20 bonus seats in parliament if they get 25% of the vote, and up to 50 bonus seats if they get about 40%. If Mitsotakis secured 40% of the vote again or even a little less, he would still have a majority. To benefit from bonus seats, New Democracy needs to stay the biggest party, but that seems likely, as its nearest rival, Syriza, secured just a fifth of the votes on May 21st. The total seats Mitsotakis secures will, however, depend on how many other parties make it into parliament. The new parliament which emerged from Sunday's elections will convene next Sunday and will be dissolved a day later before the caretaker government takes over.
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Athens
24
05
2023
New Democracy won 40.8% of the vote versus 20.1% for the leftist Syriza, in a stunning boost for Mitsotakis, who has had to navigate a wiretapping scandal, the COVID pandemic, a cost of living crisis and a deadly rail crash that enraged the public. But it fell short of the number of seats needed to govern on its own, triggering a round of coalition talks among the three biggest parties. Nonetheless, markets surged on the prospects of a New Democracy victory in the second vote.   It would take place under a system of semi-proportional representation, with a sliding scale seat bonus, increasing the chances of an outright win for Mitsotakis's party. All parties are eligible to run again. "Mitsotakis has no incentive to seek a coalition government ... as the bonus seats allocated in the second election make a New Democracy victory almost sure," said Lorenzo Codogno, head of LC Macro Advisors. While each party, including the Socialist PASOK, are due to receive the three-day mandate to try to form a coalition, none have enough seats to form a ruling alliance, and all party leaders have indicated they will not hold exploratory talks. This would pave the way for the appointment of a caretaker government to take the country to a new vote as early as June 25th. SHARES JUMP "I believe that the country needs a strong and stable government today, with a four-year term prospect," Mitsotakis told President Katerina Sakellaropoulou after she formally offered him the opportunity to form a coalition. "The sooner this issue is closed, the better it will be for the country," he said. Mitsotakis phoned the leaders of the four other parties that made it into parliament, reiterating that a government cannot be formed under the current circumstances, his office said. Former prime minister and Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras was due to meet the president on Tuesday. Greek shares jumped on Monday and banks outperformed, gaining nearly 15%. Greek bond prices also outperformed their peers on Monday as investors reckoned the outcome of the election was unlikely to lead to a deviation from the current fiscal discipline. Both Syriza and PASOK have indicated they will now shift their focus onto the next election. PASOK spokesperson Dimitris Mantzos told state broadcaster ERT there was "no scope for convergences or collaboration". In a televised statement, Tsipras called on voters to "prevent the prospect of an uncontrollable ruling prime minister", in the next election battle. Once each party has returned or exhausted their three-day mandate to attempt to form a coalition, the president can then appoint a caretaker government, expected to be sworn-in by early next week, leading to a new election date.
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24
05
2023
“We congratulate the Greek people for exercising their democratic right to vote in the birthplace of democracy. We look forward to continuing to deepen our partnership with Greece, working with the government that will be chosen by the Greek people,” a State Department spokesperson said.           “The United States considers Greece an indispensable ally and partner in NATO. Together, we will continue to advance our common goals for peace and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Western Balkans, the Black Sea region, united by shared democratic commitments.”
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Athens
23
05
2023
It was a tantalizing result for the center-right leader: although Mitsotakis slightly expanded his New Democracy party’s standing, getting double the votes of leftwing Syriza and nearly four times those of third-place Socialist Pasok, the one-off electoral law in place Sunday denied him a governing majority. He’ll now pin his hopes on a second vote — expected no later than July 2 — where the electoral system will revert to boosting the first party with a bonus of up to 50 of Parliament’s 300 seats. That system would have secured ND more than 170 seats Sunday. With 99.70% of the votes counted, New Democracy has 40.79% and 146 seats, five short of a majority, winning in 58 of the country’s 59 constituencies. Syriza got 20.07% and 71 seats, while Pasok came in third at 11.46%. Turnout was 61%. ND’s margin of victory far outstripped pollsters’ forecasts and was the biggest since 1974, when Greece’s first democratic elections were held after the fall of the seven-year military dictatorship. Athenian Fotis Hatzos said that while he had expected ND’s win, its hammering of the main opposition party took him by surprise. “What is there to say? (Mitsotakis) destroyed them,” he told The Associated Press. “He won fairly.” Markets welcomed what seems to signal the end of the political uncertainty that troubled the NATO and European Union member following the 2009-2018 financial crisis, with the Athens stock exchange general index surging more than 7% Monday and Greek bonds rallying. Mitsotakis, 55, met Monday with President Katerina Sakellaropoulou, who formally gave him the mandate to try and form a government. But the Harvard-educated former banking executive said there would be no point. “I can effectively see no way for the current parliament to form a government,” he said in a brief televised exchange. ”That is why I will return the mandate to you this afternoon, so that we can head for new elections ... as soon as possible, perhaps even on June 25. “The country needs a strong and stable government with a four-year mandate and as soon as this is settled the better.” Several hours after the meeting, the invitation was formally returned by the prime minister. The mandate will now pass to Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras, and then to Pasok leader Nikos Androulakis — neither of whom has any realistic chance of success. Each will have a maximum of three days to try to form a coalition. Once all options are exhausted, a senior judge will be appointed caretaker prime minister and new elections called. Mitsotakis had long suggested he would not seek a coalition partner, whatever the election outcome, in the interest of stable governance. Greece has little tradition of successful coalition governments, despite a series of forced matches during the fraught years of financial crisis. Analyst Wolfango Piccoli, who has followed Greek politics for years, said voters on Sunday prioritized the economy and political stability over everything else. “ND’s overwhelming performance is largely due to the positive track record on the economic front of the past four years,” the senior political risk analyst at Teneo told the AP. “Syriza’s inability to convey a coherent and credible economic plan also helped PM Mitsotakis and his ND.” “The outcome of yesterday’s vote creates a window of opportunity for Greece to turn the page and move away from the toxic populist politics that emerged during” the financial crisis, he added. Mitsotakis came to power in 2019 on a promise of business-oriented reforms and has vowed to continue tax cuts, boost investment, bolster middle-class employment and further raise wages. His victory is widely expected to spur an upgrade of Greece’s key credit rating to investment grade, which it lost in 2010. That would strongly boost the country’s ability to borrow from international markets, broadening its bonds’ appeal to investors and gilding the economic outlook. Mitsotakis has been credited with Greece’s successful handling of the pandemic and of two crises with neighboring Turkey, while overseeing high growth and job creation. His term in office was tarnished by a wiretapping scandal and a railway disaster, but opposition efforts to capitalize on both fizzled. Tsipras, 48, called Mitsotakis on Sunday night to congratulate him. In a video message Monday, Tsipras inisted he was not considering stepping down in the wake of his party’s major defeat. “I have learned in my life not to flee from the battle,” he said. Tsipras, who was prime minister from 2015 to 2019 — riding a wave of anti-establishment feeling amid the financial crisis — said his party would gather to examine the results and how they came about. “However, the electoral cycle is not yet over,” he said. “We must immediately carry out all the changes that are needed so we can fight the next crucial and final electoral battle with the best terms possible.” Tsipras transformed Syriza from a political minnow into Greece’s main leftwing political pole during the financial crisis, when he won office pledging to reverse resented cutbacks dictated by international creditors. Instead, he was quickly forced to impose further financial pain in return for a new rescue loan. Now, his political future beyond the forthcoming election remains unclear, particulalrly if it confirms the trend set Sunday when Syriza lost about 11 percentage points compared to its showing in 2019. Pasok leader Androulakis, however, was buoyant, seeing his party claw back some of the ground it lost to Syriza in the crisis — before which it traditionally dominated Greece’s center-left. The communist party posted gains, as did a small right-wing anti-immigration party. Analyst Piccoli said the “devastating blow” suffered by Syriza and the failure of smaller leftwing parties to enter parliament “suggest that voters are determined to look ahead and leave behind the painful recent memories of the economic crisis.” “It remains to be seen whether Pasok will be up for the challenge of regaining a central role on the left side of Greek politics now that Syriza is on the back foot,” he said.
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Athens
23
05
2023
The conservative New Democracy party romped to victory with 40.8% of the vote in Sunday’s poll which sent the leftist SYRIZA into a tailspin after taking 20.1% of the vote. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, a member of New Democracy, declined to seek a coalition on Monday, paving the way for a second vote on June 25th that he hopes his conservative party will win outright. Without New Democracy, opposition parties do not have enough seats to form a ruling alliance, and all party leaders have indicated they will not hold exploratory talks. SYRIZA said that “the final battle” had yet to come.   “In the coming election our primary responsibility is to prevent the prospects of an almighty and uncontrollable ruler-prime minister,” SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said in a televised statement on Monday. “But also to protect the leading presence of the left in this country’s political landscape.” The country’s president, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, was due to meet Tsipras at 11 a.m. local time and hand him a mandate to try to form a coalition government.           SYRIZA’s defeat revealed a split left. Two small leftist parties, set up by former SYRIZA members, did not make it into parliament. During the pre-election period, SYRIZA tried to persuade the socialist PASOK party, which finished third in Sunday’s election, and leftist parties, including the Communist KKE, to back it in a coalition government. But after its defeat, SYRIZA accused them of turning their back on its efforts to form a broader alliance against the conservatives.   If Tsipras returns the mandate to form a coalition, as he has suggested he will, PASOK will get a chance to do so before the president appoints a caretaker government that will lead Greece to a second vote. That election will take place under a system of semi-proportional representation, with a sliding scale seat bonus, increasing the chances of an outright win for Mitsotakis’ party. All parties are eligible to run again.
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Athens
22
05
2023
The exit poll gave the conservative New Democracy party between 37.5-41.5% of the vote versus 23.5-27.5% for the Syriza party, which governed the country in 2015-2019, at the peak of Greece's financial crisis. The projections suggested that New Democracy was not likely to win outright. EXIT POLL PARTIES * VOTES % ND 37.5-41.5 Syriza 23.5-27.5 PASOK 11.5-12.5 KKE 6.5-7.5 EL 4.3-5.3 Mera25 2.5-3.5 Plefsi 2.5-3.5 Eleftherias 2.5-3.5 Niki Exit poll conducted by: ALCO, Marc, Metron Analysis, MRB Hellas, Pulse and GPO * ND: Conservative party, leader PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis Syriza: Leftist party, leader Alexis Tsipras PASOK: Socialist party, leader Nikos Androulakis KKE: Communist party, leader Dimitris Koutsoumbas Mera25: Leftist party, leader Yanis Varoufakis EL: Right-wing Elliniki Lysi (Hellenic Solution), leader Kyriakos Velopoulos   Plefsi Eleftherias, leftist party, leader Zoe Constantopoulou Niki, nationalist party, leader Dimitriοs Natsios
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