Greek president calls for technocrat government

Greece's president called Monday for talks on a technocrat government, seeking to resolve the crisis over a tough EU-IMF debt bailout which risks forcing the country into new elections and out of the eurozone.

Socialist Pasok party chief Evangelos Venizelos said after meeting President Carolos Papoulias along with leaders of the conservative New Democracy and radical Democratic Left that the talks would take place at 1100 GMT on Tuesday.

The meeting would seek to form a government of "distinguished and non-political figures," said Venizelos, who with New Democracy in a technocrat coalition last year implemented the bailout whose austerity measures Greek voters largely rejected in May 6 polls.

Antonis Samaras of New Democracy said: "Everyone must take their responsibilities ... our efforts continue tomorrow.

"Our mandate all together is to build a government," Samaras said.

Democratic Left head Fotis Kouvelis, who had earlier Monday said there was no chance of a deal if the radical left Syriza party was not included, indicated he would go to Tuesday's meeting.

Syriza head Alexis Tsipras said he would also attend while NET TV reported that the Greek Independent party had agreed to take part, meaning only the hardline Communists (KKE) and far-right Golden Dawn would be absent.

A meeting Sunday hosted by Papoulias with Samaras, Venizelos and Kouvelis failed, raising the prospect that Greece would spend another month it could ill afford without action in the hope that new polls would produce a solution.

The latest twist in a tortuous Greek crisis coincided with a eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels where officials insisted Greece must accept the bailout in full or face the consequences, a likely exit from the 17-nation euro currency bloc.

Euro chief Jean-Claude Juncker said after the meeting that currency partners unanimously affirmed their "unshakeable desire" to keep Athens in the club.

He insisted: "I don't envisage, not even for one second, Greece leaving the euro area."

Earlier Monday, Germany, the eurozone's paymaster and biggest economy, said that forming a government was the most important concern and stressed that there could be no relaxation in the Greek bailout terms.

"For the German government, the most important thing is that the political forces succeed in consolidating themselves into a workable majority, a workable government," German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in Berlin.

Head of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso meanwhile expressed the hope Greece could stay in the eurozone but Athens had to live up to its commitments, his spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen said.

New Democracy and Pasok backed the 240 billion euro ($310 billion) EU and International Monetary Fund debt deal agreed last year and approved by parliament as part of a technocrat government led by Lucas Papademos.

Monday's developments seem like an attempted return to that solution which at least proved stable long enough to get the debt deal through but the political landscape is now very different.

Syriza has capitalised on the groundswell of frustration in Europe with governments which put austerity before growth, demonstrated only last week in France where Socialist Francois Hollande ousted President Nicolas Sarkozy largely on his pledge for change.

Syriza, which says it wants to remain in the eurozone, is widely tipped to emerge as the largest single party if Greece has to go to the polls again, threatening to prolong a crisis which has rumbled on since early 2010.

Greece has had to be bailed out twice, followed by Ireland and Portugal in its wake to stoke fears debt contagion could spread to Spain and even Italy.

European stock markets slumped Monday on such concerns, extending heavy losses, with Athens down 4.56 percent, while Wall Street also lost ground on the view that Greece is slipping out of the eurozone with potentially disastrous consequences far and wide.

"Greece's time in the euro seems limited now, and a large bill for their default will need to be paid and Germany's (share) ... will be large enough to shake the eurozone further," said broker Jonathan Bristow at Valbury Capital.

"While a Greek exit might actually be a good thing for the eurozone in the long run ... in the short term however there is uncertainty regarding how much damage a Greek exit would actually cause," ETX Capital trader Markus Huber said.

Greeks appeared sceptical and uncertain of what is ahead.

For unemployed Velisarios, who has a degree in economics, Greece wants it both ways -- "to remain in the eurozone but not have the loan agreement.

"That is what the majority wants ... (but) of course, something like that can't happen," he said.

Venizelos said that with the country in "such a dead end," the technocrat option seemed the best in the circumstances.

"As a last resort we support a government of personalities. In a democracy, the responsibility belongs to the political governments, political parties and politicians," he said.

"It is not normal to form a governments by technocrats and personalities.

"However, when we face such a crisis, in such a dead end that is something we have to accept but it is important the parliamentary support of this government is a great as possible," he said.


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • PSEi breaches 8,000 level, but profit-taking pared most gains

    [caption id="attachment_257092" align="alignleft" width="150"] PSEi breaches 8,000 mark (PSE photo)[/caption] Local share prices surged on a slew of positive news from abroad, sending the Philippine Stock Exchange index past the 8,000 mark for the first time in history. BDO Unibank chief market strategist Jonathan Ravelas said the market rose due to “positive foreign equity portfolio flows and Fed Chair Yellen’s comments last week reiterating thethat the FOMC will be data dependent and …

  • Abandoned, hard-up husband hits P60-M Lotto pot

    Lady luck finally smiled on a hard-up tricycle driver, who endured being abandoned by his wife and seeing his children drop out of school before hitting the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) 6/45 Lotto jackpot worth nearly P60 million. PCSO acting chairman Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II said the 29-year old lucky bettor hit the jackpot in the March 20 draw by correctly picking the winning numbers 02-03-14-22-29-30, which corresponds to the birth anniversary dates of his family members. …

  • News In Brief

    P/$ RATE CLOSES AT P44.80/$1The peso exchange rate closed  lower  at P44.80  to the US dollar yesterday at the Philippine Dealing & Exchange Corp. (PDEx) from P44.76  last  Friday.  The weighted average rate  unchanged  to  P44.796  from  P44.796.  Total volume amounted to $340.6 million.PUMP PRICES RAISED THIS WEEKThe pump prices of gasoline products will be raised by P1.10 per liter this week and diesel by P0.60 per liter, according to the oil companies. In an advisory to the media, the oil …

  • Need for modern national sports complex underscored

    Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara yesterday pushed for the construction of a “state-of-the-art” and “highly scientific sports complex” that can be used by the country’s national athletes for high-level training and total wellness program. Angara, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Games, Amusement and Sports, said the government should at least provide decent support to its athletes by providing them with ultramodern sports venues and facilities if it wants them to improve the country’s …

  • Makati mayor slams PNP’s role in mayoralty row

    Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin S. Binay denounced what he called apparent “misuse” of the Philippine National Police (PNP) force in the implementation of “selective suspension” of government officials not allied with the ruling party. Binay said he sympathizes with PNP personnel who often got caught in the middle of political conflicts, and called for an end to dirty political tactics. [caption id="attachment_257243" align="aligncenter" width="648"] THANKSGIVING MEAL – Vice President Jejomar C. …

  • EVAP warns of unscrupulous foreign electric vehicle suppliers

    The Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines  (EVAP) has cautioned local manufacturers and end users against unscrupulous foreign EV suppliers that are flocking into the domestic market. In a sunrise industry like the electric vehicle industry, EVAP stressed that choosing the right partner or supplier is a difficult task. “In the absence of any track record to review, an end user is at a loss as to how to choose a reliable and competent supplier,” said Atty. Bodie Pulido, EVAP …

  • Mayors laud bill increasing tax revenue allocation for LGUs

    The League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) is backing the proposed increase in the annual automatic allocations for local government units (LGUs) to boost inclusive growth with improved infrastructure, modernized agriculture and easier access to resources. Mayor Jess Burahan, secretary-general of the LMP said the empowerment of LGUs through added resources is a game changer in boosting inclusive growth. …

  • Freeze order against Jinggoy assets final; Bong guards face raps

    The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division has turned down with finality the plea of Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada to lift the freeze order on his properties amounting to more than P183 million. In a resolution released yesterday, the Fifth Division denied Estrada’s motion for reconsideration that sought that the court lift its writ of preliminary attachment/garnishment that was issued on February 17 that ordered the freeze of his properties. “As movant has not filed a counterbond and his arguments …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options