January 25, 2015

Live Blogging of Greece's General Elections - Updates Every 15 minutes #Greeceelections

21:30 - As predicted by HellasFrappe earlier, it is still unknown whether or not SYRIZA will gain a majority government. At present SYRIZA has not been able to gain the majority, and this will not be known until tomorrow morning. As it stands and with only 16-18% of Greece’s official votes accounted for, SYRIZA gathers 36.5% (147-150 seats) followed by New Democracy with 27.7 (76 seats), the Golden Dawn party with 6.3% (17 seats) the Potami party with 5.9% (15 seats), the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with 5.6% (15 seats), PASOK with 4.8% (13 seats), the Independent Greeks party (ANEL) with 4.7% (13 seats), and it is still unclear if George Papandreou’s “KIDISO” (To Kinima) party will get into parliament because at present it has only gathered 2.52%. Quite surprisingly, Vasilis Levendis’ Center party gathered 1.86%.

According to analysts, and exit polls results, it was noted that some 74.3% of ND voters remained stable to their choice, however a record 11.6% of the right party shifted to SYRIZA. That means that a large chunk of SYRIZA's supporters are right-wingers. What is also quite interest is that one out in five supporters of PASOK voted for George Papandreou's newly formed party, and a whopping 24% shifted to SYRIZA.

Meanwhile, Syriza economic policy sector head Yiannis Milios told the state news agency ANA-MPA that his party's victory is a historic win of the Greek people. He said that a new page has turned in Greek history and that it was a great moment for Europe. Responding to a question by ANA-MPA, on what the Finance Minister will do on Monday at the Eurogroup conference, he said “I imagine that Mr. Hardouvelis will settle pending issues of technical nature. Because the program on which Mr. Hardouvelis has agreed as Mr. Samaras' representatives is now dead.”

He then said:
    “The government of SYRIZA, the government of national salvation, is the government that will promote, defend and consolidate the interests of social majority but, at the same time, it is not just a message. It is the beginning of a major change for Europe."
He then noted that Europe cannot continue with the deflation, recession, the rising unemployment and excessive debt.
     "Greece leads the way, our country, our people are the pioneers of a huge change. We are all very emotional and happy,” he added.
Finally it was announced that SYRIZA plans to propose Costas Karamanlis as the new presidential candidate. Meanwhile, the former spokesman for the Karamanlis government Mr. Antonaros tweeted that it is time for ND to return to its roots... the Karamanlis sort.

This is our last post for the LIVE blogging event. Please check back every so often to find out more official results by scrolling down to the Singular Logic program. HellasFrappe will post an analytical report on the elections on Monday.

20:00 - HellasFrappe has just uploaded Singular Logic's electoral map.  We have programmed the program so that it may broadcast the results in the English language but if you prefer to read the results in Greek then simply press the icon depicting the Greek flag. The team of HellasFrappe will now take a break and return at 21:30 for a final update on today's elections. We advise readers who want to find out how many seats were appointed to each party to simply check in regularly throughout the night on the results which will be changing on the chart posted below this post. 

19:55 - RT just released a report - "Greece’s radical-leftist party, Syriza, has won between 35.5 and 39.5 percent of the vote in the national parliamentary election, leaving the country’s ruling New Democracy party more than 10 per cent behind, the exit-polls revealed." Click HERE to read.

19:45 - The first exit polls presented on major TV networks as soon as the polls closed, show a clear SYRIZA win. According to their estimations SYRIZA gets between 35.5% and 39.5%, with New Democracy following with 23% to 27%. The Golden Dawn party is clearly third. It appears that there is going to be a battle for the fourth position between the Greek Communist party and the River party, both getting between 6.4% to 8.0%. As for the seats, it should be reiterated that given the above results and given that George Papandreou's newly formed Social Democrats do not enter parliament then SYRIZA will get between 146 to 158 seats, New Democracy between 65 and 75 seats, the Golden Dawn party 20+ seats, The River and the Communist party between 17 and 22 seats. It was also reported that all foreign embassies and non-Greek betting agencies had placed their bets on SYRIZA. Interestingly a report on defencenet stated that some betting agencies lowered the rate on the Golden Dawn party one day before the elections because they realized that they would follow in third place. This is a clear sign that the opinion polls that were published throughout the election period may have been over blown for gambling (and other) purposes.

19:15 - At SYRIZA's polling booth at Klafthmonos Square in central Athens people are beginning to gather for their party's win. Expected win of seats in Parliament if a majority government is achieved: SYRIZA 146-158 / New Democracy 65-75 / The Golden Dawn party 17-22 / The Potami party 13-16 / PASOK 12-15 / KKE 10-13 / ANEL 0-8. If other smaller parties enter parliament then SYRIZA will not be able to maintain the number of seats mentioned above -or a majority government- but this will not be known until later on tonight, or at the very least until Monday morning. Keep in mind that these are exit poll results and not formal electoral results. Polling stations have just closed throughout Greece and we will have a better idea of the results after 21:30.

19:00 - According to SKAI channel the first sample in exit polls results are as follows:
  • SYRIZA:36-39
  • ND:26-27
  • Golden Dawn:8-6
  • KKE: 7-5  
  • PASOK - 6-5
  • Potami:6.5-8
  • ANEL: 4.5-5
  • Social Democrats: unknown
  • Other parties: unknown
Meanwhile, Th. Pangalos said on MEGA Channel that he voted ND and that he did this "consciously". Meanwhile, preliminary estimates show that  the participation in these elections was highest that they have every been since previous elections.

16:45 - The first poll results are set to be announced in 15 minutes but it can now safely be concluded that SYRIZA will be the clear winner. However, it is highly suspected that they will not be able to gain a majority government. Meanwhile, the American news channels which clearly support SYRIZA are having a field day. They have been publishing reports on a SYRIZA win throughout the day. One example of this is a report that was just released by ABC news. It said that the "Leftist Syriza party is set for landmark win as Europe watches on". The correspondent Mary Gearin in Athens writes that it Greece should get set for a change of government. Click HERE to read. Finally the video below was just released from Press Tv.

18:30 -
The first exit polls will be announced in half an hour. Meanwhile representatives of Singular Logic told a reporter on SKAI television in Greece that the majority government will depend on how many smaller parties enter parliament. They released the picture below showing how this works. Also, the spokesman of the Independent Greeks party (ANEL) Terrene Kouik said that ANEL are the guardians of a possible SYRIZA government. (If all parties enter then the winning party would need 40.05 to gain a majority government) Meanwhile, George Papandreou is meeting with colleagues of the Democratic Socialist Movement because there is fear that they will not be able to generate the 3 pct needed in order to enter into parliament.

16:15 - CNN, which clearly favors Alexis Tsipras and the SYRIZA party just released a report that says that "Greeks vote in election that could lead to showdown over bailout." Click HERE to read. The Wall Street Journal on the other just said in a report that "Greece Votes as Role in Eurozone Hangs in Balance" since the results could determine the country’s future in the Eurozone. Click HERE to read that story.  Earlier today during the Divine Liturgy the Metropolitan of Thessaloniki Anthimos, who has spoken against SYRIZA on national issues, told his congregation that Greeks lose their unity during political change, while those around us celebrate. "Today, in Skopje, they are preparing feasts and fairs to celebrate the deal over the name (Macedonia). Anthimos was of course referring to SYRIZA's stance on the issue of the name which has never been in favor of Greek interests and is more in favor of the neighboring republic.

18:00 - An offbeat story was reported from the news site involving a 70 year-old female voter. The report claims that the poor woman did not know where she was registered to vote, so she began visiting all the polls stations in the city in order to find out. Meanwhile it was also reported that the Greek elections are heading global news outlets. In Zappeion at the moment there are 1,015 accredited journalists, correspondents, observers from many countries and diplomatic representatives are observing the election results. Of these, 741 are foreign correspondents (590 of which have come to Greece specifically for the elections). The largest group is from Spain (said to be about 70). Indicative is the video report below by ANT1 news.

17:45 - The first exit polls should be announced in an hour and fifteen minutes. Meanwhile reports are claiming that a stage is already being constructed at the Propylaea area for Alexis Tsipras (downtown Athens). The state news agency also released a dispatch confirming an earlier post by HellasFrappe which stated that the first safe and more credible estimation of the Greek elections result should be expected at 21:30 local time on Sunday and not at 19:00 (when exit polls are released). This means that we will have a clearer picture of the results two and a half hours after the closing of the polling stations. If, on the other, a political party achieves a majority government, or 151 deputies, then Singular Logic which is tallying the votes will not be able to release the data until Monday at dawn. This is because, according to Greek election law, the results will depend on the percentage of the parties that will not enter parliament. Finally, the video report below was released by Business News.

17:30 - Reuters just released a report saying that Greeks are heading to the polls to decide "on whether to dump austerity, take on lenders". Click HERE to read. On the other hand Gulf News said that "Euro may extend weakness as traders eye Greece elections results." The author notes that on Friday, the euro fell 1.4 per cent against the dollar, to $1.1206, on top of a 2.1 per cent slide the day before. He adds that currently it is down 7.4 per cent against the dollar since the turn of the year and is at its lowest point in more than 11 years. Click HERE to read. Finally the video report BELOW was released by Russia Today.

17:15 -
The Guardian said in a report that the outcome of the elections could possibly put Greece on collision course with EU. The author claims maintains that opinion polls give SYRIZA a clear lead, but the party may not win enough seats to govern alone. Click HERE to read. NPR news on the other hand just released a report noting that the "Future Of Eurozone At Stake In Today's Greek Elections". Click HERE to read. Finally the video report below was released by CNN.

17:00 - The New Democracy party rightfully slammed reports which are purposely posting exit poll results. Meanwhile in the area of Keratsini in Piraeus, there were a few incidences reported with the involvement of the far-right Golden Dawn party. (Details on these incidences will be posted as soon as we have more details). Also at 15:30 it was reported that parliamentary candidate and member of rivaling party attacked each other in Plomari, Lesvos. According to, one candidate threw a metal object at his rival. The man who was injured was rushed to a local clinic and then filed a lawsuit against his rival.  In other news, DW (English) just said in a tweet that the Greek election sparks new #euro worries.  Also, it was announced that ballot results will be available on Greece's Interior Ministry’s website:  Finally it was also reported that a super puma helicopter airlifted a judicial representative to Agia Roumeli in Crete after strong winds and heavy rain prevented the representatives from reaching the polling station by boat.

15:02 - HellasFrappe will return for LIVE coverage of the 2015 elections at 17:00 (unless there is a breaking report). #Greeceelections

15:00 - It was reported that several members of the extreme-Leftist ANTARSYA party - known to be strong supporters -and maybe even part of the SYRIZA party- attacked a member of the far-right Golden Dawn party at another polling station in the area of Petroupolis (western Athens).  These two political entities have been long-time rivals. The ANTARSYA party has in the past been suspected of taking part in many crimes performed by anarchists. #Greeceelections

14:45 - Spain's El Pais daily is also covering the Greek elections and for a good reason, last Thursday Pablo Iglesias, the leader of left-wing Podemos, stood alongside Alexis Tsipras at the end of the SYRIZA chief's final pre-election speech in Athens. Click HERE to read their coverage. #Greeceelections

14:35 - According to The Guardian today's election outcome could put Greece "on collision course with the European Union." Read article by clicking HERE #Greeceelections

14:15 - The leader of the conservative New Democracy party returned to the party headquarters on Syggrou avenue after arriving back in Athens following his right to vote in Pylos earlier this morning. Meanwhile the results from two final polls that were conducted on Friday night claim that SYRIZA is leading in the polls. Specifically: MRB poll for Star TV gave SYRIZA 31.2 pct, New Democracy 26 pct, To Potami 6.5 pct, Golden Dawn 5.5 pct, Greek Communist Party (KKE) 4.5 pct, PASOK 4 pct, Independent Greeks 3.2 pct and George Papandreou's party 2.4 pct. BUT the poll also claimed that undecided voters stood at 13.2 percent; A second poll by GPO shows SYRIZA at 33.4 percent, New Democracy at 26.7, Golden Dawn at 5.1, PASOK at 5, Potami at 5, KKE at 4.9, Independent Greeks at 3.5, and George Papandreou's party at 2.9. It also shows smaller parties such as LAOS at 1.4. The undecided in this poll were reported to be at 9.3 percent. #Greeceelections

14:00 - The first exit polls, which are being conducted online, have already begun claiming that the difference between SYRIZA and the New Democracy party has been determined, however it is still unknown if a majority government will be achieved. #Greeceelections

13:45 - It was just reported that the Golden Dawn member who was attacked at the polling station in Kallipoli Piraeus was rushed to a local hospital. Reports claim that the assailant who attacked him fled on a motorbike. #Greeceelections

13:25 - As the day progresses more and more people are heading to the polls to vote in central Athens. Meanwhile, it is being reported that in a few polling stations the voting process is being conducted without any legal representatives because they either never showed up for their call of duty, or have not reached the stations due to adverse weather conditions. Whereas in other polling stations where there are similar problems legal representatives and other supervisory members from adjacent sections have undertaken double roles to fill the voids. Finally MEGA Tv left it to be understood that there will be a clearer outlook on what the exit polls yielded after 21:30 and not 19:00 because the race is still neck to neck for the two leading parties. #Greeceelections

13:11 - Leader of the Independent Greeks party Panos Kammenos tells the press: "We send a message of hope. It is a day of democracy, and a landmark in Greek history. The Greek people decide to reclaim their sovereignty. The Independent Greeks promised to be the regulators and we are. As of tomorrow we will be the guarantors for the course of our country, where Greeks will be united." #Greeceelections

13:00 - The Greek elections are being covered by the French press: Views can be read at Liberation, Le Monde and Le Figaro. (Click on bold links) - #Greeceelections

12:54 - Officials are considering allowing the polling stations that delayed to open an extension of two hours to complete the electoral process. The news has not been confirmed as of yet. - #Greeceelections

12:52 - Some press reports are claiming that there were small incidences at a polling station in Kallipoli (Piraeus). A suspect apparently assaulted a representative of the Golden Dawn party. - #Greeceelections

12:45 - George Karatzaferis casts vote and tells reporters that by allowing his LAOS party to enter into parliament it will "brake" the independence of the Left. - #Greeceelections

12:34 - After casting his vote, Papoulias tells reporters that: "I hope the Greek people choose the best (party) to send to parliament. I predict that the coming years will be problematic. I would say that there needs to be a unanimous approach and sangfroid to deal with the situation. I believe that the people (of Greece) have the wisdom and knowledge and determination." - #Greeceelections

12.10 - The Interior Ministry announced that all 19,449 polling stations across Greece are finally operating smoothly. Also, the President of the Republic, Karolos Papoulias arrives to cast his vote in Ioannina. - #Greeceelections

12:00 - The polling stations in various communities in Nafpaktos finally opened. They had remain closed in the morning due to adverse weather conditions. - #Greeceelections

11:48 - After casting his vote in Kalithea (southern Athens), KKE secretary general Dimitris Koutsoumbas tells the press that “The day after will be difficult for our people because the long-term memorandum will be present with the new government as well.” - #Greeceelections

11:30 - Italy's Corriere della Sera reports on the Greek election. Click HERE to read article - #Greeceelections

11:25 - Speaking to the press George Papandreou reiterates his and his party's position regarding a referendum on post-bailout structural reforms. - #Greeceelections

11:14 - SYRIZA Attika Governor Rena Douro: The current electoral process marks the end of one period and the beginning of a new one. With their vote people are generating a new age. - #Greeceelections

11:09 - George Papandreou leader of the newly formed Social Democrats Movement votes in New Erithrea. - #Greeceelections

11:09 - Michael Theoharidis (caretaker Interior Minister): In all polling stations across the country voting has started normally and there are no major problems being reported. The few problems that are being reported are due to adverse weather conditions, but are being tackled immediately.  - #Greeceelections

11:07 - Leader of the Greek communist party (KKE) Dimitris Koutsoubas votes. - #Greeceelections

10:59 - Tsipras: Today the Greek people demand a return of hope with complete determination. The responsibility belongs to everyone. The dilemma is clearer than ever. Today we decide whether or not Greece will return to the troika tomorrow to implement the Samaras program -cuts in pensions and wages and increases in taxes- or if the Greek people will claim everything they deserve tomorrow. Dignity will return. (Greek statement) Following his statement in Greek, he switches to English: “Greece will return to democracy, social cohesion and dignity.” - #Greeceelections

10:57 - SYRIZA head Alexis Tsipras arrives at a polling station in Kypseli, central Athens, where a large number of local and foreign journalists await. - #Greeceelections

10:17 - Venizelos:  "I hope today the Greek people make choices that will lead to something better and not worse for them and their children". - #Greeceelections

10:13 - The leader of PASOK Evangelos Venizelos casts his vote in Thessaloniki. - #Greeceelections

10:04 - In two communities of Nafpaktos (Quick and Elatovrysi), it was reported that there were still a couple of polling stations that were closed because it was impossible for judicial representatives to gain access to the area due to heavy snowfall. - #Greeceelections

09:48 - Kouvelis:  Greek citizens decide today on the progress of the country. With their vote they should give a mandate to move Greece forward. The people will decide the course of the country. - #Greeceelections

09:45 - Leader of DIMAR Fotis Kouvelis votes in the area of Peristeri Athens. - #Greeceelections

09:15 - Theodorakis:  The nation decides to change the first party (ND and PASOK) and punish those who have brought to this situation. This change is in the right direction and. We do not want adventures, we want to change everything without wreaking the country. - #Greeceelections

09:10 - The leader of the Potami party Stavros Theodorakis voted at the 1st Highschool in Chania. - #Greeceelections

08:30 - Some polls stations in Achaia opened with a slight delay and in marsh areas located in the region of Kalavryta. There were also some problems in mountainous areas of Nafpaktia caused by bad weather, because of heavy snowfall. Some stations did not open until 8.00am because access was impossible. It was also reported that some 4815 polling stations have mobile phones which will send a text message of the first results when the polls close at 7pm. - #Greeceelections

08:24 - Samaras: These elections are crucial for our future and the future of our children. Today we decide whether or not to go forward with strength, safety and security or whether to ride on adventures. During this election there is an unprecedented large number of undecided voters who will decide the outcome. We are optimistic because I believe that no one will risk the European course of the country. We will win." - #Greeceelections

08:13 - Antonis Samaras casts his vote in Pylos, in the southern Peloponnese.

08:08 - A few problems reported in Crete due to bad weather.

HellasFrappe will be posting LIVE updates every 15 minutes for the 2015 General Elections. The LIVE blogging begins at 11:00 am Greek time. We encourage readers to leave their comments in the comment section below. Worldwide interest in the Greek general elections. In Zappeion covering the elections there currently are:
  • 876 Accredited journalists (649 in the 2012 elections)
  • 497 Foreign journalists (298)
  • 148 Foreign Press Correspondents 148 (100)
  • 231 Greek journalists 231 (251)
  • 45 Countries 45 (44)
  • 27 News Agencies (31)
  • 100 global television stations covering the elections (66)
  • 27 Radio stations 27 (31)
  • 84 Newspapers (85)
Voters can find out where they vote by visiting the Greek Interior Ministry website ( or by calling 2131361500. - #Greeceelections

For all other related stories leading up to the 2015 elections, then please click HERE .

January 23, 2015

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Samaras Tells ANT1 That SYRIZA Risks Excluding Greece from ECB's plan (VIDEO)

During a televised interview on an ANT1 morning talk show with host George Papadakis, Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras lashed out against main opposition Syriza claiming that with its policy, the party risks excluding Greece from the European Central Bank’s government bond-buying programme.

Speaking to Papadakis, Samaras said that though the ECB has warned Greece it would not be included in the plan unless it successfully concludes its troika review, Greece's main opposition party SYRIZA continues to claim it is not going to accept Greece's participation in a bailout program and wants to renegotiate its agreement with its lenders from scratch.
     "This means that for a whole year, while it will be 'raining' money, we won’t get a single drop," he said.
     "They (SYRIZA) were celebrating on Thursday and obviously they hadn’t read that for Greece to get the money the review needs to be concluded. This is the whole point and SYRIZA didn't take that into consideration."
Asked on those who accuse him for scare-mongering, he said:
     "When someone says I will not pay any debts and interest, I will print money, when someone says Cosco would better drop into the sea, when countries like China give jobs and hope to the people, when you say police and the Coast Guard will patrol unarmed, then who is creating fear? No one knows what SYRIZA wants today. Fear describes what they believe in."

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PROVOCATION: Greek fishing boats bullied by Turkish Submarine Near Imia

The Turkish paper Hurriyet said in a report that two Greek fishing boats approaching the islets of Imia on January 22 decided to retreat and return to the island of Kalymnos after the Turkish submarine “Tayfun” (Typhoon) suddenly surfaced in front of them.

The paper basically claimed that the Greek fishing boats were attempting to illegally fish in Turkish territorial waters. This is obviously an absurd statement because the territorial waters in and around Imia are GREEK.

It should be reminded that the Imia islets are a pair of two small, uninhabited rocky islands in the Aegean Sea between the Greek Dodecanese islands and the southwestern mainland coast of Turkey. Greece and Turkey almost went to war over these islets in 1996 (or just a short while after PASOK took power under Costas Simitis).

Turkey's refusal to recognize Imia as a set of Greek islets is part of the larger Aegean dispute, which also comprises disputes over the continental shelf, the territorial waters, the air space, the Flight Information Regions (FIR) and the demilitarization of the Aegean islands.

In the aftermath of the 1996 crisis, the dispute has widened, as Turkey has begun to lay parallel claims to a larger number of other islets in the Aegean. All the islands, most of which are inhabited, are regarded as indisputably Greek by Greece but regarded as grey zones of undetermined sovereignty by Turkey.

The European Parliament and the European Commission has continually supported Greece on the issue of Imia, and has warned Turkey on more than one occasion to refrain from using any sort of military operations against Greek sovereignty.

References: Hurriyet, Wikipedia, HellsaFrappe archives


SYRIZA wants clear mandate "to change Greece”

In a speech at his main election campaign rally that took place at Omonia Square on Thursday evening, the leader of the Radical Leftist SYRIZA party Alexis Tsipras asked for a clear mandate to change Greece. Addressing his supporters he said that he is aware of the challenges that await him and his party after the elections and reiterated his commitment to confront and overturn the bailout policies.

Tsipras noted that a great battle was being fought to deny his party a parliamentary majority, so that “Berlin and the creditors” can impose “representatives of Mrs. Merkel’s opinions” in a coalition government. He then pointed out that he would not ally with “old or new” bailout representatives.

Tsipras was joined on stage by Pablo Iglesias, leader of Spain’s Podemos party.


Golden Dawn runs quiet but vitriolic campaign from prison

Nearly three years since entering parliament after rousing rallies and food handouts, Greece's far-right Golden Dawn is running a much quieter campaign for Sunday's election from a high-security prison. With most of its top brass jailed pending trial on charges of being in a criminal gang, Greeks have seen little of one of Europe's most ardent anti-immigrant parties in recent weeks except for the occasional broadcast and odd leaflet.

Golden Dawn, whose leaders deny neo-Nazi sympathies, taps into the same anger at politicians seen as responsible for austerity, wage cuts and record unemployment that is expected to propel the radical leftist Syriza to power.

The party's resilience on Greece's turbulent political scene, it ranks as high as third in some polls, raises the prospect of an imprisoned far-right leader being asked to form a government if Syriza and the ruling conservatives both fail to win outright or form a coalition.
     "The television stations might present (our candidates) as knife-wielders, criminals, uneducated, immature but as you can see... they represent the best that Greek society has," boomed the voice of prominent Golden Dawn lawmaker Elias Kassidiaris from a loudspeaker at a recent gathering in the town of Koropi, south east of Athens.
He was speaking from Korydallos prison, home to some of Greece's most dangerous criminals, where he is awaiting trial on charges of illegal gun possession.
     "Golden Dawn is writing Greece's modern political history and we will be the winners," he told around 300 enthusiastic supporters packed into a hall where members sang the national anthem and chanted: "Homeland, honor, Golden Dawn".
Kassidiaris, leader Nikolaos Mihaloliakos and five other outgoing lawmakers are behind bars, accused of being part of a criminal group that attacks immigrants and leftists, after a party supporter stabbed a prominent left-wing rapper in 2013.

One of the party's few lawmakers free to campaign, Artemis Mattheopoulos, said the election schedule revolved around infrequent calls with the leadership and prison lockdowns.
     "The last election event we held in Thessaloniki had to happen early because at 8 p.m. the prison cell door shuts and communication is cut off so we held the event at 6 p.m. ... so that the leader could speak without being worried that his cell door is shutting," he said, saying the party was being "gagged".
Seven of the party's 16 lawmakers are in pre-trial detention and three under house arrest ahead of a trial due this year, as part of a government-led crackdown that was the most significant mass round-up of lawmakers since a military coup in 1967.

In the last nationwide ballot - for European elections held barely eight months ago - Golden Dawn polled nearly one in ten votes to secure a comfortable third position.

The party, which rose from obscurity to enter Greek parliament for the first time in 2012, is now being challenged by the newly-formed centrist To Potami (River) for third place, but pollsters say support for Golden Dawn could be higher than polls indicate.

One of the final surveys before Greece's last national elections in June 2012 put support for the party at 4.7 percent, days before it achieved a share of 6.9 percent.
     "There is a so-called abstaining voter, who doesn't disclose who they will vote for to pollsters, and this is a factor for the extremist parties," said George Siakas, pollster and political researcher at the University of Macedonia.
     "Every election has its particularities but from 2012 it seems that Golden Dawn has crystallized a voting public... There are people who will vote for Golden Dawn come what may."
Back in Koropi, Kassidiaris told gathered supporters to cast aside a corrupt Greek elite and send Golden Dawn to a triumphant victory.
     "On Sunday, we will get more votes than we did in 2012 and we will be the third-biggest party!" Kassidiaris said, to loud applause and cheering in the hall displaying the party's swastika-like emblem, which it says is the ancient Greek 'meander' symbol. "Don't believe the fake pollsters."

Source - Reuters


Standard & Poor’s issues warning to Southern Europe

Standard & Poor’s issued a statement on Thursday warning that it may downgrade the rating of several southern European countries where Eurosceptic parties may assume power.

According to the rating agency, the most “credit negative” parties are SYRIZA (which opinion polls claims will win the January 25th elections) and the Spanish Podemos party. Both parties favor increasing public spending and restructuring their debts.

The rating agency stressed that “Eurosceptics are advocating a major macroeconomic policy shift” and that “a decision by any government to default on debts or devalue the currency would, without question, represent a new policy direction”.

IMF does not see possibility of a Grexit

During a press conference in Washington on Thursday, the spokesman for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) William Murray noted that the Fund fully respects the democratic procedures in progress in Greece and said that they are waiting for the new government to be elected in order to begin talks on the outstanding bailout review. He added that the possibility of a “Grexit” is unlikely.

When asked to comment on SYRIZA’s intentions to arrange an international conference on debt, Murray said that he is not going to comment on election-related matters, but he did point out that in every IMF review a new Debt Sustainability Analysis (DSA) is carried.

He did, however, repeat Christine Lagarde’s recent comment that “debt is debt” meaning that debt restructuring is a serious matter and that revising the terms of any sort of agreement may have consequences.


Eurostat: Greece’s Public Debt at 176% GDP in 3rd Quarter of 2014

Eurostat published its latest figures regarding debt in the European Union, according to which Greece’s public debt rose to 176% GDP in the third trimester of 2014, from a previous 171% that was recorded in the same trimester of 2013.

More exactly, Greece’s debt was 176% GDP (315.5 billion euros) in the third trimester, as opposed to 177.5% (317.5 billion euros) in the second trimester and 117% (317.7 billion euros) in the third trimester of 2013.

Following Greece, the countries with the highest public debt are Italy (131.8% GDP), Portugal (131.4% GDP) and Ireland (114.8%). The countries with the smallest debt are Estonia (10.5% GDP), Luxembourg (22.9% GDP) and Bulgaria (23.6% GDP).

Overall, the public debt in the Eurozone marginally increased to 92.1% GDP in the third trimester, compared to 91.1% from 2013. The public debt for the EU members also increased to 86.6% GDP, from 85.3% GDP in 2013.

During the third trimester of 2014 the public debt of 18 EU members increased; the greatest increases were documented in Slovenia (16.8 base points), Croatia (7.3 base points) and Bulgaria (6.6 base points).

Of the 10 EU members states that saw their debt decrease in the third trimester, the greatest reductions were documented in Ireland (9.4 base points), Poland (8 base points) and Luxembourg (5 base points).

Delos museum construction plans approved

The plans for the construction of a new museum on the island of Delos were apparently given the green light by the Central Archaeological Council, after the funds for the plans were collected.

The new museum is going to have to adhere to strict bio-climatic architectural standards and be situated as far away as possible from the sea, in order to better protect the antiquities and the museum itself from the elements.

Also, it is going to occupy a space of at least 5,000 square meters and feature all of the exhibits displayed in the existing museum, as well as other interesting artifacts located on the island’s archaeological sites and/or in storage.

It should be noted, that the funds for this project were donated by the London-based International Foundation for Greece.

Hardouvelis to hold meeting with Dragasaki ahead of Eurogroup

Greece's Minister of Finance, Gikas Hardouvelis, would meet with the head of SYRIZA’s financial program Yannis Dragasakis on Friday, in order to discuss public finances, ahead of the Eurogroup meeting which is set to take place on Monday.

Press reports claim that Dragasakis is going to be appointed as Minister of Finance if his party wins this Sunday's general elections. As such, he is going to brief Hardouvelis on his party’s intentions regarding the negotiations and legislative initiatives.

During the Eurogroup next Monday, Hardouvelis is expected to stress the need of extending the Greek bailout program beyond February 28th, and to raise the limit of treasury bills which the Greek state can issue, from 15 billion to 20 billion euros.


WSJ: Samaras warned to expect little from the troika

The Prime Minister Antonis Samaras had been warned in the second quarter of 2014 not to expect much clemency from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). the European Union and the ECB (otherwise known as the Troika), notes an article in the Wall Street Journal which was published on Thursday.

It claims that German Chancellor Angela Merkel briefed Samaras when she visited the Greek capital ahead of the European elections. During her visit in Athens, the Greek Prime Minister requested help with the debt,

The article states that Merkel asked an interpreter to translate “debt relief", and then told Samaras that “it doesn’t sound as good in German”.

The retort was interpreted as an early sign that Greece should expect little clemency from the German-led troika.

Greece 29th globally in innovation

Greece is ranked as being 29th in 50 countries worldwide that have been noted in Bloomberg’s 2015 world innovation index, leaving behind among other Western European nations and leading over the remainder of Eastern Europe.

According to Bloomberg, the ranking focuses on six tangible activities that contribute to innovation: research and development, manufacturing, existence of high-tech companies, post-secondary education, research personnel and patents.

January 22, 2015


PROVOCATION - Austrian FM To Press Athens On Issue of FYROM After Elections

Sebastian Kurz, the Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, said on Thursday that FYROM has a European perspective, and it is of the utmost importance to finally resolve the name dispute with Greece which has been unresolved for far too long.

He revealed that Austria would be willing to exert pressure on both nations -especially Greece- to finally end the dispute.

During his meeting with his FYROM counterpart, Nikola Popovski, he said that he was optimistic about the whole issue, and pledged that following the Greek general elections of January 25th Vienna intends to help FYROM by exerting more pressure on Athens.

Source in Greek -

(Editor's Comment: And there you have it folks... This is why the "establishment" wants a SYRIZA government, because as difficult as a conservative government is -on terms of austerity-, our national issues would never be at stake with them because they are pro=Greece. On the other hand, SYRIZA is pro-everyone and everything and let us not kid ourselves, we all know SYRIZA's stance on the issue of FYROM which does not in any which, way, or form respect Greek national issues. Now it makes sense why the former general of the Greek army Frangoulis Frangos came out with a poisonous statement on Wednesday -click HERE-. He obviously has the same concerns. First FYROM, then the issue of Thrace and then its on to divide the Aegean... And all this because former unionists -or the bad PASOK- together with Soros-backed Indymedia anarchists will be ruling our country. Bravo Ellines!)


NYT: Tourists worried at SYRIZA proposal to limit all-inclusive

A proposal by main opposition Syriza, the leftist coalition that is leading in the polls ahead of the Greek election on Jan. 25, to limit the "all-inclusive" deals in tourism has alarmed both industry officials and tourists, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

Syriza disdains the 'all-inclusive' deals, arguing it keeps tourists penned up in resorts and away from local businesses and attractions and has proposed to limit them if it is elected, the article titled  "Greek Left’s New Issue: All-Inclusive Resorts" says.

In fact, the NYT argue, both of the top parties in the campaign are unnerving the tourism industry with proposals that would crimp hotels and resorts, even as the business has been a rare bright spot for the anemic Greek economy."

"The tourism proposals reflect the broader tumult and uncertainty of Greece as it heads into the election coping with a financial crisis that rivals the Great Depression. The uncertainty has global financial markets hanging on the outcome of the election and what it means for the future of Greece and the European Union."

The travel industry may not emerge unscathed in any electoral outcome, the article continues. In addition to Syriza’s threat to go after all-inclusive deals - Tsipras has said the business model "largely alienates tourism from the local economy" - the party has said it will reopen big privatization deals already agreed upon. That could include deals to sell public land to resort developers and a plan to privatize 14 small but crucial airports that serve Greek cities and islands.

The ruling New Democracy party, led by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, has proposed to double the value-added tax on hotel accommodations to 13 percent from 6.5 percent. Since the onset of the crisis, the tax rate has been moving like a bouncing ball. In 2009, the tax on both food and accommodations was 9 percent. In 2010, it was initially increased to 10 percent and then to 11 percent.

The next year, it was increased to 13 percent for food, but lowered to 6.5 percent for accommodations. In 2012, the food tax was raised to 23 percent, but it was lowered to 13 percent again in 2013. Now the government is proposing to unify the two rates at 13 percent.

Hoteliers are alarmed, after a record year had them feeling optimistic again. Tourism plummeted in the depths of the financial crisis, but rebounded by 20 percent last year with a record 21.5 million arrivals.

Syriza’s plan to go after all-inclusive deals has particularly raised eyebrows, since they accounted for about €2 billion of the industry’s projected €15.20 billion in revenue last year, and are offered by competing tourist destinations in Italy, Turkey and Egypt.

"Why not be the California or Florida of Europe?" Andreas Andreadis, the president of the Greek Tourism Confederation, who wants to do more to make the country a vacation destination and even a place for second homes told NYT. Politicians, he added, "think three months down the road. No vision. Without vision, you are dead."

Referring to the proposed tax increase, he said, "It’s completely stupid in an exported product where you compete with the entire world." He added, "It’s committing suicide, basically."

New Democracy would not comment on its tourism plan. The tax increase has been described as a temporary measure, though a clear time frame has not been provided. The party’s leadership has also said the tax increase was the troika’s idea, pointing the finger at an unpopular target, though party officials believe that the tourism industry is one of the few that can bear a tax increase.

The proposal is creating strains within the party. On Monday, the government’s tourism minister, Olga Kefalogianni, came out against it in an interview published by Naftemporiki, a financial newspaper.

"We need to be taking initiatives that reinforce tourism and not measures that stop it," she said, adding, "I am saying clearly that the next government should aim for the withdrawal of this when negotiations with the troika resume after the election."

Syriza’s proposals reflect its populist ideology, which is aimed at curbing austerity policies and aiding small businesses and average citizens.

"For the all-inclusive, our view, as well as that of the tourism industry, is that it’s not the best thing," said Michalis Kritsotakis, a Parliament member from Syriza who is responsible for the party’s tourism policy. "What we ask is a better quality of tourism, but the all-inclusive is not something that can be banned."

He called for a new model that would lead to "a lesser number of all-inclusive packages in due time" or "the stopping of the negative effects that the all-inclusive packages have."

"The first thing that happens is that some tourists who use them do not have a good view of things because they are embedded in a hotel," he said, adding that some tourists "didn’t even know what part of the country they were at."

Some more-luxurious resorts are already changing tack, like the Ikos Oceania in Halkidiki in northern Greece, which has begun to incorporate local restaurants into a more expansive definition of "all-inclusive." But resorts that are more mass market would most likely have trouble expanding their offerings while keeping prices in check.

"You cannot forbid or cancel all-inclusive; it’s an international need of the customer," said Yiannis A. Retsos, managing director of Electra Hotels and Resorts and president of the Hellenic Hotel Federation. "We cannot discuss it seriously," he added.

The article also hosts the view of a Welsh tourists who regularly holidays in Rhodes, who said he would think twice before choosing Greece if the all-inclusive were limited.

Source: New York Times 


SYRIZA leads ND by 4-4.9 points in two new polls

The latest public opinion polls show that the main opposition Radical Left SYRIZA party is still in the lead over the conservative New Democracy party.

The first poll, which was conducted by Alco for the To Pontiki weekly newspaper shows SYRIZA at 32%, with New Democracy at 27.1%, followed by the River party at 5.6%, the far-right Golden Dawn party at 4.6%, the Greek Communist Party (KKE) at 4.1%, PASOK at 4%, the Independent Greeks party at barely 3%, the Movement of Democrats Socialists at 2%, the Greens/Democratic Left at only 1% and other parties at 2.9%. Of those questioned 5.3% said they would vote blank or abstain from voting, while the rate of those undecided was at 8.4%.

The second poll conducted by Pulse for the Action 24 television network showed SYRIZA at 31%, the New Democracy party at 27%, the River party at 6%, PASOK at 5.5%, the Golden Dawn party at 5.5%, KKE at 5%, the Independent Greek at 3% and George Papandreou's Movement of Democrats Socialists at 2.5%.

The same poll also showed that 64% of respondents believe that SYRIZA will claim victory on Sunday's general election as opposed to 26% which believes New Democracy will come first.

ECB’s Quantitative Easing program could generate 1 TRL Euros

Economists estimate that the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing (QE) policy may result in up to 1 trillion euros being generated to purchase government bonds (with a value of about 50 billion euros each month until 2016). The news obviously indicates Mario Draghi’s determination to tackle to threat of deflation.

A report from the online news service from To Vima quoted the strategic analyst for Saxo Bank, John J Hardy, telling Bloomberg that the ECB’s program is starting at 500 billion euros, with the markets leaning towards 750 billion euros, while the maximum amount that can be expected is 1 trillion euros. The economist for UBS Reinhard Cluse however estimates that the ECB will be bolder and announce a 1 trillion euro program on Thursday, with the possibility of further increasing it.

The report notes that countries in a bailout program such as Greece, where the bonds have an investment grade lower that BBB-, are going to have to extend their program in order to be included in the QE. Assuming however that the QE program is to have a budget of 550 billion euros, then the ECB would pay 15.9 billion euros for Greek bonds (2.9% of the 550 billion).

Greece's Minister of Finance, Gikas Hardouvelis, said at the recently held Economist conference in Athens that Greece is a prime candidate for the QE program, as it has the highest deflation, debt and loan rates in Europe. With this in mind, additional terms, such as credit rating, should not be taken into consideration.

Faithful flock to grave of Saint Paisios

Thousands of faithful have made the pilgrimage to the monastery of St. John the Evangelist in a small town in northern Greece to visit the grave of the Orthodox Church's latest saint, Saint Paisios. Paisios, a monk who spent most of his life in the nearby Mount Athos monastic community, was essentially made a saint by popular acclamation.

Revered among the faithful as a wise man and a prophet, he was canonized last Tuesday by the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate bishops in Istanbul, Turkey, just over 20 years after his death, on July 12, 1994, at the age of 70.

In the Orthodox Church, specific miracles aren't required to become a saint — instead the reputation of the faithful plays a major role. But Paisios' sainthood happened quickly according to church standards, and was the second-fastest sainthood in recent church history.

The faithful who flocked to the monastery in Souroti, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) east of Thessaloniki, came from across the Balkans.

The pilgrimage and liturgy were the culmination of five nights of continuous prayers in this women's monastery, which St. Paisios helped found in 1967 and in which he spent the final months of his life. The nuns are going to publish an official biography, as well as a multi-volume collection of his saying and alleged prophecies.

Archbishop Damianos of Sinai, abbot of St. Catherine's Orthodox Monastery in Egypt's Sinai peninsula since 1973, was present at the ceremonies.
     "Saint Paisios spent two years with us (at St. Catherine's) ... We are praying for God's and St. Paisios' enlightenment, so that Greece may be saved," he said.
Pantazis Miteloudis, 57, was among those who had a close relationship with Paisios, whom he views as a spiritual guide.
     "He was a perfect human being ... I saw him every few weeks. He listened a lot to people and he answered to whatever concerns and worries they had." 

Crime rate drops in 2014

The Greek Police published its cumulative statistics for 2014, which show that crime rates are showing a significant decline as opposed to the previous year.

More exactly, the rate of homicides dropped by 25.5%, robberies decreased by 22.7%, thefts and break-ins were down by 7.8%m, while vehicle thefts dropped by at least 13.2%.

Major thefts, such as bank robberies, etc., also showed signs of decline or were down by 37%.

Cases of sexual assault and exploitation were also down by 43% and rapes were down by 10%.

Also, intellectual property violations showed a decline of 24.6%, while firearm-related cases decreased by some 23.2%.

In their report, authorities noted that during the 2014 period they handled 555 more cases involving narcotics, 412 additional cases of forgery, 336 additional cases of counterfeit currency and 132 more cases of smuggling.

Of the 170,824 people arrested, some 11,090 were charged for bank and store robberies and thefts.

Moreover, 419 gangs were busted and authorities actually investigated 31,475 cases of common and organized crime.

There were also 77,163 arrests for illegal immigration, while there was a 6% increase of non-legal migrants returning to their country of origin.

The police conducted 658 store and business inspections, which resulted in 240 case files being composed for a variety of tax-related crimes. Additionally, a total of 5,198 demonstrations, rallies and public gatherings took place in 2014 and 6,000 sporting events which necessitated police presence.

Finally, a significant decline was reported in deaths caused by road accidents, with 60 fewer deaths and 52 fewer lethal traffic collisions in 2014 as opposed to 2013.

, ,

Authorities arrest accomplice of convicted terrorist Xiros

Greek anti-terror police on Thursday arrested a 23-year-old man (of Armenian origin) who they suspect is an accomplice to recently recaptured November 17th terrorist Christodoulos Xiros. According to reports, the suspect was arrested at his home in southern Athens, after an arrest warrant was issued for his participation in a terrorist group and theft.

Authorities are convinced that the man had stolen a van from the area of Galatsi (central Athens) which was to later on be used as an escape vehicle after a planned prison break at the Korydallos penitentiary, where members of the anarchist Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire group are serving time in prison.

The suspects fingerprints were found in the van which was discovered in the area of Aigaleo (western Athens).

Potami not to join gov't that is "anti-Europe"

The Potami party is not planning to join a government of "anti-Europeanists" nor is it planning to join a "soup" government, party leader Stavros Theodorakis said during a live televised press conference that was broadcasted nationwide on Wednesday. He pointed out that as of January 26th, there must be an "honest proposal for the Greek people" and that Potami party was ready to "step into the deep end" in terms of making changes and the negotiations with Greece's creditors.

Potami's leader, on the other hand, said that the policy program presented by the leader of the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party Alexis Tsipras in Thessaloniki last September was a "wish list" and noted that this was a problem that Tsipras must address as a priority.

Describing SYRIZA members Yiannis Dragasakis and George Stathakis as "injections of reason" within SYRIZA, he said the positions they had expressed at times were serious and "not far from those of Potami".

Theodorakis said Potami had a strong following and did not exclude different opinions, while clarifying that the party's European orientation was "non-negotiable".

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