Friday, June 15
Welcome to Kathimerini English Edition's live blog for the Sunday, June 17, general elections in Greece. We will be updating you with news and opinion throughout the week on what promises to be a crucial moment in the country's modern history.
21.50 Thank you for following our coverage of the final day of the June 17 general election campaign. We will be back tomorrow.
21.40 "New Democracy is driven by the ideas of social liberalism," says Samaras. "We want to unite, not divide the people."
21.36 Samaras plegdes "growth, social justice and security."
21.33 "Parts of SYRIZA supported convicted November 17 urban guerrilla," says Samaras.
21.29 ND chief states that damage done by SYRIZA in power would be "irreversible."
21.28 Samaras attacks SYRIZA for blocking reforms and entrepreneurship.
21.26 Samaras continues: “We only set two conditions for a unity government: Renegotiation of the memorandum and keeping Greece in the eurozone."
21.23 "We want a strong unity government," states Samaras.
21.20 New Democracy head attacks SYRIZA's stance on Macedonia name dispute.
21.18 Samaras says that SYRIZA would lead the country to isolation and destroy key international alliances.
21.16 ND leader pledges that the country will once again become a “normal” country.
21.15 Samaras vows to stop "mass invasion" of illegal immigrants.
21.13 “A victory for SYRIZA would result into a worse memorandum for Greece,” says Samaras.
21.11 ND chief slams FTD article, says "will take no recommendations from outsiders."
21.09 Samaras: "A return to the drachma would take Greece 50 years back."
21.06 Samaras says signs are positive, but the battle has not been decided yet. “Key dilemma is euro or drachma,” says ND chief and lashes out at drachma lobby.
21.01 Antonis Samaras in Syntagma Square pledges measures to boost growth and jobs and states that “these elections will decide the future of our children."
20.48 Venizelos: "Come Monday Greece must be operative, a European country."
20.46 The IMF advises Spain to raise VAT and make cutbacks in public sector salaries.
20.41 Speaking from Acharnes, PASOK chief Evangelos Venizelos says: “Our conflict with our partners is of a political and ideological nature," adding that “We can now move onto the second phase of the negotiation. A window of hope has opened.”
20.23 US stocks rose Friday as investors grew more optimistic ahead of Sunday's vote, CNN Money reports. "The market has been grinding higher today on the thought that we'll get some sort of resolution with Greece this weekend," said Douglas DePietro, managing director in institutional equities at Evercore Partners, speaking to the business website.
20.05 Bookmakers see New Democracy winning Sunday's election, according to Reuters. A few days before the vote, London-based Betfair put the conservatives on 1.3 and Landbrokes quoted 4:11, while SYRIZA was on 11:4 and 15:8 respectively, suggesting a ND victory was more likely. Dublin-based Paddy Power gave ND 2:7 and SYRIZA 9:4.
19.33 Caretaker interior minister Antonis Manitakis states everything is in place in view of Sunday's elections, following a test run at the ministry, "All is in order on a technological, online and administrative level. I’m confident everything is going to go well.”
19.14 Sunday’s general elections will cost 22.5 million euros less than the May 6, 2012 elections, according to figures released by the Greek Ministry of Finance today. The total cost is expected to reach 47.9 million euros, as opposed to 70.4 million euros in May.
19.06 Pre-election campaign reaches its peak tonight as political leaders prepare to speak to their supporters: New Democracy’s Antonis Samaras in Syntagma Square (8 p.m.), SYRIZA’s Alexis Tsipras in Thessaloniki (8.30 p.m.), PASOK’s Evangelos Venizelos in Acharnes (7.30), Independent Greeks’ Panos Kammenos in Egaleo (7.30 p.m.), Democratic Left’s Fotis Kouvelis in Thessaloniki (8.30 p.m.) and Greek Communist Party’s Aleka Papariga at the Pedion tou Areos in Athens (8.30 p.m.).
18.49 German President Joachim Gauck says that his country has no interest in dividing the eurozone into stronger and weaker members and has never heard members of the German federal government discuss such an option, Reuters says.
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18.43 Central banks in G20 nations are ready to take steps, including coordinated action, in order to stabilize markets if needed, after Sunday’s Greek elections, Reuters reports. The UK announced it would flood its banking system with cash, while Canada says is “ready to act” if the situation takes a serious turn.
18.26 The Greek media watchdog announces instances of law-breaking election poll publication and says it is in the process of compiling a file regarding the violations. According to Greek law, polls stop being publicized 15 days before election day.
18.14 Greek Communists (KKE) slam FTD article as "provocative and insulting."
Here are some key facts about the election process in Greece.
18.00 "Nothing is certain, many voters are still undecided and factors such as the soccer match may be a major factor," New Democracy candidate tells Reuters. Greece play Russia late on Saturday in the European Soccer Championships in Poland. If Greece win, they will progress beyond the group stage and could face Germany on June 22. "Our analysts say a victory may fan nationalist feelings but they are not sure which party would benefit from that," the candidate says.
17.50 Golden Dawn MP Antonios Gregos presses defamation charges against Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris. Boutaris had earlier this year called for a ban on Golden Dawn, describing it as a "nazi party."
Bloomberg commentary: "Spare a thought on Sunday for the ordinary Greek voter. These are the people who paid their taxes, weren’t corrupt, didn’t get early retirement as hair stylists, and whose sons and daughters are rioting or emigrating because they’ve no prospect of employment for a decade to come." | Greece's creditors matter as much as its voters
16.57 Cyprus is "working away from the glare of publicity" to find solutions to recapitalise its banking system, the government says as it kept markets guessing how it would find the cash to prop up Cyprus Popular Bank, its second-largest bank this month.
You can follow @ekathimerini on Twitter for news and instant updates concerning Greece's Sunday elections. Useful hashtag: #Greece2012
16.24 Addressing the Cabinet, Greece's caretaker Prime Minister Panayiotis Pikrammenos sends message of unity. He says: "Greece would be in much better shape if we all put our differences aside and joined hands for the good of the country." Pikrammenos is set to meet with his predecessor Lucas Papademos at 7 pm today.
15.54 German Chancellor Angela Merkel has no recommendation for Greece's voters, her spokesman says. "The chancellor does not give voting advice to neighboring and friendly countries," Steffen Seibert says.
"In the general climate of insecurity and deprivation, primitive political groups have taken the opportunity (and, to some extent, gained legitimacy) to attack migrants," writes Nikos Konstandaras | Stamp out racism
15.41 The Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers rule out holding a special video-conference meeting when the first results from Greece's general election land on Sunday night. "As soon as a new government is in place, things will be different," source tells AFP. Ministers are already slated to meet in person in Luxembourg on Thursday.
15.27 Appearing concerned that the headline could backfire, New Democracy spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis slams Financial Times Deutchland article urging Greek voters to turn back on ”demagogue” Alexis Tsipras of SYRIZA and vote for conservative Antonis Samaras instead. ”Take your recommendations elsewhere,” Mihelakis says.
15.19 Angela Merkel vows to resist pressure for quick fixes to the European crisis when she meets world leaders at the Group of 20 summit next week. The German Chancellor says Europe must tackle its problems ”at the roots” by lowering debt and increasing economic competitiveness. ”I will say there, and I say it here too: Germany will not be convinced by all the quick solutions like eurobonds, stability funds, European deposit insurance funds,” she says.
14.59 European Central Bank head Mario Draghi warns EU leaders that they should not wait for more emergency help from the central bank to solve the debt crisis dogging the region and instead make the political choices needed to strengthen the euro. Draghi says the ECB has supported banks against the ongoing debt crisis with €1 trillion in emergency credit to banks and that now it was the governments' turn to act.
14.23 Thanos Tzimeros, head of Dimiourgia Xana (Recreate Greece), which has allied itself with Stefanos Manos's Drasi party, calls SYRIZA a "ridiculous party" in a television interview. "I'm sorry, but I haven't heard a single proposal that is realistic," Tzimeros said.
13.58 SYRIZA candidate Dimitris Papadimoulis slams an article published in the Financial Times Deutschland titled "Resist the Demagogue" and featuring a photo of Alexis Tsipras, calling it provocative and insulting to all Greeks, and a "coarse intervention in the internal affairs of the country."
13.53 Former Prime Minister George Papandreou posts an address on his personal website urging Greeks to vote for reforms. Greece, he writes, "must demonstrate to its partners credibility and a capacity of solvency, and this can be done by a broad coalition government, a government of national co-responsibility, which continues in its attempts to bring about the major changes needed to tackle the problem at its source".
13.18 Golden Dawn spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris told supporters of the neo-fascist party last night that the aim is for the third spot in Sunday's elections.
12.28 Drasi chief Stefanos Manos tells Skai TV that the "badly hit by unemployment private sector is continuing to pay for an untouched public sector." SYRIZA, he added "represents the status quo of universities and unions, and as such would make a very backward-looking government."
12.06 PASOK chief Evangelos Venizelos tells Mega television that he intends to overhaul the Socialist party, adding that Sunday's elections are "not about PASOK's electoral performance, which has already been badly hit. The elections are about the country's future."
11.54 The cost of Sunday's elections is expected to be reduced by 30 percent in comparison to the May 6 polls, with the tab coming it at roughly 40 million euros from 60 million euros.
11.41 The caretaker cabinet is meeting for the last time today under Prime Minister Panayiotis Pikrammenos, who has had one of the briefest premierships in Greek history. Ministers will discuss preparations for Sunday's elections.
11.06 Parliamentary candidates making one final push to convince voters ahead of Sunday. Former Development Minister and New Democracy hopeful Costis Hatzidakis has just sent out a batch of SMS messages. "The worst memorandum is populism. We can't gamble with Greece. We are fighting with truth and national unity," says the candidate's message. He will be standing in Athens's B, or second, constituency.
10.55 Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis arrives in Thessaloniki - his last campaign stop. Kouvelis's party, which gained 6 percent on May 6, could hold the key to the formation of a new government as it is a potential partner for SYRIZA and New Democracy. Kouvelis says Greece needs a "progressive government", which leaves his options open.
10.13 Nikos Pappas, an aide to SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, writes on Twitter that police estimate 13,000 people attended last night's rally in Omonia Square. Pappas is encouraged by the fact that the rally in Omonia before the May 6 elections drew 5,500 people, according to police estimates.
09.45 LAOS leader Giorgos Karatzaferis has predicted that whichever party comes second in Sunday's elections will be in power by Christmas. He believes ND's Antonis Samaras will not be able to survive as PM with a strong SYRIZA in opposition, nor will leftist Alexis Tsipras be able to fulfill the role of premier.
09.33 Ex-Prime Minister George Papandreou, who is running for Parliament in Achaia, accuses New Democracy and SYRIZA of being "two sides of the same coin." He accuses SYRIZA of opportunism and demagoguery and says ND leader Antonis Samaras has "huge, historic responsibilities" for Greece's demise.
09.11 Just in from our correspondent Tom Ellis, an interview with Bundesbank chief and European Central Bank policy maker Jens Weidmann. His views on the renegotiation of Greece's loan deal will not be particularly encouraging to Greek parties. Although Weidmann accepts that if Greece is to leave the euro, only the Greeks can decide that - a point that SYRIZA has insisted on during this campaign - he suggests that changing the terms of the memorandum would be 'dangerous.'
08.34 SYRIZA's big campaign moment came in Athens last night, when leader Alexis Tsipras spoke to a large crowd in Omonia Square. Click here to read what he had to say.
08.31 Good morning and welcome to our live election blog. Today is the last day of campaigning before a pause on Saturday and voting on Sunday. Today's main event is a New Democracy rally in Syntagma Square in central Athens, where Antonis Samaras will try to convince voters that his party offers a better way out of the crisis.