Wednesday, June 20
Welcome to Kathimerini English Edition's live blog for the Sunday, June 17, general elections in Greece. Following Sunday's vote we will be updating you with news and opinion throughout the week.
21.38 Thanks for following us and good night We will be back tomorrow.
20.49 The Athens-Macedonia New Agency reports that caretaker Finance Minister Giorgos Zanias will be traveling to Brussels alone tomorrow and that his successor Vassilis Rapanos will be sworn in after he returns to Athens.
20.38 The meeting between the new prime minister, Antonis Samaras, party leaders Evangelos Venizelos of PASOK and Fotis Kouvelis of Democratic Left, with caretaker Finance Minister Giorgos Zanias and his successor, Vassilis Rapanos wraps up.
20.15 National Bank Chairman Vassilis Rapanos, who will most likely be named finance minister, is reportedly going to travel to Brussels tomorrow to attend the Eurogroup meeting of eurozone finance ministers, together with his predecessor Giorgos Zanias, who served in the post between the two general elections as a part of the caretaker government.
20.07 Reports that Fotis Kouvelis and Evangelos Venizelos will travel to Brussels with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras next week for EU leaders' summit. Venizelos and Kouvelis will meet with representatives of their European party groupings.
19.43 German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday congratulated new Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras by phone and invited him for talks in Berlin, her spokesman said in a statement, according to AFP. Merkel "wished him luck and success for the difficult work that lies ahead of him," Steffen Seibert said in a statement. "The federal chancellor hopes for good cooperation with Prime Minister Samaras and his government and invited him to visit Berlin."
19.36 Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is meeting with PASOK's Evangelos Venizelos, Democratic Left's Fotis Kouvelis, caretaker Finance Minister Giorgos Zanias and his possible successor Vassilis Rapanos. Zanias will represent Greece at tomorrow's Eurogroup meeting.
19.10 Anti-bailout party Independent Greeks has issued a statement wishing new Prime Minister Antonis Samaras success "for the sake of all Greeks." However, the right-wing party added that Samaras remains a "prime minister of the memorandum" and he would be "judged strictly based on his pledges."
19.01 SYRIZA has pledged to stand next to "people who suffer from the policies implemented" by the new government.
18.57 SYRIZA has issued a statement on the new coalition government. Spokesman Panos Skourletis said that the administration has "conservative characteristics" and would continue the policies of the EU-IMF memorandum. "The political balance in the government does not convince that it is able or prepared to negotiate effectively the terms of the loan agreement," he said.
18.40 Speculation about who will take up ministerial posts. NET TV reports that two new ministries - Tourism and Merchant Marine - will be created. They had been merged with the Development Ministry, where Yiannis Stournaras, the caretaker minister, is expected to remain in charge.
17.26 Pikrammenos says Samaras assumes power at a difficult and historic moment. He will have a lot of battles to fight.
17.05 New Prime Minister Antonis Samaras meets with ex-caretaker Prime Minister Panayiotis Pikrammenos.
17.00 Antonis Samaras makes statements as he leaves Presidential Palace: "Patriotism and national unity and trust that with the help of God we will ensure that the Greek people can emerge from the crisis. We will have to work hard to give our people tangible hope.
16.50 Antonis Samaras being sworn in as Greek Prime Minister.
16.30 In meeting with President Karolos Papoulias ND leader Antonis Samaras officially receives mandate to form government.
16.20 Antonis Samaras arrives at Presidential Palace.
15.40 National Bank Chairman Vassilis Rapanos is pegged as being the most likely candidate to be named finance minister.
15.38 President Karolos Papoulias's office confirms that Antonis Samaras is to be sworn in as prime minister "soon."
15.33 New Democracy's Antonis Samaras is scheduled to meet President Karolos Papoulias at 4 p.m. (1300 GMT) to inform him that a government has been formed.
15.27 According to recent figures, the bill of the average household's monthly shop for basic consumer goods has risen by 18 percent compared to last year.
15.09 Cabinet is expected to be announced within the day, with reports suggesting there will be between 15-17 ministries.
15.06 Antonis Samaras will reportedly be sworn in as prime minister at 6.30 p.m. after meeting with President Karolos Papoulias.
14.32 PASOK chief Evangelos Venizelos emerges from his meeting with New Democracy's Antonis Samaras saying "we have a government and this is what Giorgos Zanias will be telling the Eurogroup tomorrow," in reference to the meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels, which will be attended on behalf of Greece by the caretaker finance minister. Venizelos also said that he expects the make-up of the cabinet to be finalized by the end of the day, reiterating PASOK's refusal to participate with MPs and ex-ministers. The Socialist leader expressed regeret at "SYRIZA's insistence not to participate in a negotiation team," saying that forming a strong team to renegotiate Greece's bailout agreement with its creditors is a top priority.
13.57 SYRIZA MP Theodoros Dritsas tells NET state radio that the far-left party will not "exercise opposition for the sake of opposition," but will monitor the government's policy implementation. Asked whether SYRIZA is planning to pursue a strategy of supporting protests and strikes, he said "we will see where things go given the present circumstances, and whether the people will need to make their presence felt."
13.44 German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be traveling to Poland on Friday after all to attend the much-anticipated European Championship game between Greece and Germany, Berlin has said.
13.39 Reuters publishes an interesting report on Nikolas Blome, one of the most powerful journalists in Europe and chief political correspondent and deputy editor of Bild, which has been especially critical of Greece over the crisis years.
13.28 A new round of voting is to take place at a polling station in Exarchia in central Athens this Sunday, after a group of hooded men stormed the station on June 17 and set fire to a ballot box, NET state TV reported.
13.22 As politicians haggle over power-sharing deals, hundreds of citizens flocked to the Pedion tou Areos park in central Athens to take advanatge of a municipal drive to distribute hundreds of tons of free vegetables from the Anatoli cooperative from Ierapetra, Crete, to families in need. City of Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis said he hopes to expand the program to include more farmers' cooperatives reaching out to more people.
12.59 PASOK's parliamentary group agrees with party chief Evangelos Venizelos that deputies and former ministers should not serve on the cabinet of the coalition government. The decision comes after some top party members had objected to the idea earlier in the day. The party also agreed to endorse technocratic candidates for cabinet positions, such as ex-Interior Minister Tassos Giannitsis and Development Minister Yiannis Stournaras.
12.52 Democratic Left's Fotis Kouvelis comes out of his meeting with New Democracy's Antonis Samaras, saying that his party made a "great effort" to give the coalitiom government its vote of confidence, and adding that as long as the three parties of the government agree on the policy program, the final make-up of the government should be decided by tonight. He also added that Democratic Left's priority is to see a gradual disengagement from the Memorandum of Understanding.
12.17 Global leaders attending the G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, tell Europe to pull together in order to overcome its debt crisis, Bloomberg reports.
12.09 PASOK chief Evangelos Venizelos is meeting with the socialist party's elected MPs and is expected to face pressure from top party members, including Michalis Chrysochoidis and Andreas Loverdos, regarding his objection to former PASOK ministers and current deputies to participate in the under formation coalition government.
11.54 Timetable changes: ND leader Samaras to meet with Democratic Left's Fotis Kouvelis at 12.30 p.m. and with PASOK's Evangelos Venizelos at 1.30 p.m.
11.10 As political leaders in Greece edge toward forming a coalition, the focus in Brussels is today also focused on the possible prospect of a broader economic union following the proposal by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy that an EU summit later this month should focus on ways to seek greater economic integration. Van Rompuy was speaking at the G-20 summit in Mexico where he also expressed solidarity with Greece and confidence that it would honor the terms of an international bailout package.
10.45 Officials representing Greece's international creditors will be closely watching developments in Athens today. International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde says - at the end of the G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico -- that IMF will send a team of experts to Athens as soon as a government is announced." "I am sure that the other two members of the troika will do that as well," she said referring to the European Commission and European Central Bank.
9.45 Conservative New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras is scheduled to meet at 12 noon with socialist Pasok chief Evangelos Venizelos and at 1 pm with Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis. Also at 1 p.m., top-ranking officials of the three parties expected to join a coalition -- ND, Pasok and Democratic Left -- are to resume talks they launched on Tuesday to finalize the would-be coalition's policy program.
09.35 It appears that the momentum established in talks since Sunday's elections between conservative New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras, socialist Pasok chief Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis will lead to the formation of a new coalition government at some point during the day. Debate in the media shifts to who will staff the cabinet of the new government, almost certain to be led by Samaras as the new Prime Minister.
9.30 Socialist Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos is to meet with his party's 33 MPs at 10 a.m. and put to them his proposals for the form that Pasok's participation in a coalition government should take. On Tuesday Venizelos said he objected to former top ministers and current MPs joining a coalition cabinet, drawing criticism from some deputies.