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FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » DAILY CHRONICLE™ » Greek pro-bailout parties win knife-edge elections

Greek pro-bailout parties win knife-edge elections

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CSE.SAS

CSE.SAS
Global Moderator
By Dario Thuburn | AFP – 16 minutes ago

Greece's two main pro-bailout parties clinched enough votes to form a government in knife-edge elections on Sunday, as world powers pushed for a new cabinet as soon as possible to ease global fears.

"Today the Greek people expressed their will to stay anchored with the euro," said Antonis Samaras, the leader of the conservative New Democracy party which preliminary official results showed in the lead with 30.04 percent.

"We ask all political forces which share the aim of keeping the country in the euro... to join a government of national unity," he said.

"The country does not have a minute to lose."

Samaras also pledged to honour Greece's commitments but says he wants to ease the terms of an unpopular EU-IMF (Berlin: MXG1.BE - news) bailout deal which has imposed harsh austerity on many Greeks in return for a multi-billion rescue package.

The International Monetary Fund is pressing for urgent talks with Greece as early as next week and the Eurogroup in Brussels urged parties to move "rapidly" to set up a new government that would implement key reforms.

"We hope this election will lead quickly to the formation of a new government that can make timely progress on the economic challenges facing the Greek people," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in Washington.

International financial markets are watching the election closely because of its potential domino effect on other weakened eurozoneeconomies and some analysts warn Greece may eventually have to leave the euro anyway.

Samaras's main rival Alexis Tsipras, head of the leftist anti-austerity party Syriza, conceded defeat and ruled out joining any coalition.

"We represent a majority of people opposed to the bailout deal," said Tsipras, whose party came second with 26.57 percent of the vote.

Coalition talks are now expected to start Monday, with the most likely ally for New Democracy being the socialist Pasok party. The two have dominated Greek politics for decades and are blamed by many for the current woes.

With the sense of crisis hanging over Greece, there was little celebration for New Democracy on the streets of Athens.

Only around 100 supporters greeted Samaras in central Syntagma square.

"I feel really relieved and very happy. It's good for the country, for the stability of the country and the stability of Europe (Chicago Options: ^REURUSD - news) ," said Louisa, a young supporter.

Spiros Stamoulis, 26, said: "The majority of Greek people are very suspicious, very hesitant. They wait and see what the new policies will be before being optimistic about the future, and I understand."

The preliminary results appeared to heed an unprecedented warning on the eve of the vote from German Chancellor Angela Merkel who said it was "extremely important" that Greeks choose lawmakers who would abide by the bailout.

As the first results filtered through, Germany said it could discuss giving Greece more time to meet budget targets and Belgium said there was "room for manoeuvre" while France said Europe should "accompany Greeks towards growth."

"There needs to be discipline but there also needs to be hope," French Foreign Minister Pierre Moscovici said in an interview with France 2 television.

New Democracy would hold 130 seats in Greece's 300-seat parliament because of a 50-seat boost for the victor under the Greek system, the early results showed.

Syriza would hold 71 seats and the pro-bailout Pasok party 33 seats.

The neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn (CDNX: GOM.V - news) , which has been condemned for violent attacks and won votes on a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment, would win 18 seats.

Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos said he was ready to join with New Democracy but only on condition that other leftist parties were included.

Venizelos said the new government should be one of "national responsibility."

Analysts say Pasok is concerned about instability if a narrow majority is called on to pass unpopular reforms under pressure from street protests.

Exit polls had shown a dead heat between New Democracy and Syriza which could have left Greece in the political gridlock between bickering parties which followed elections last month and triggered this vote just six weeks later.

Greece has been forced to seek bailouts twice, first for 110 billion euros in 2010 and then for 130 billion euros this year plus a 107 billion euro private debt write-off -- for a total of 347 billion euros ($439 billion).

Greek newspapers said the vote was the most critical since the end of military rule in 1974.

For many Greeks a fine-tuning of the terms of the bailout may not be enough as public anger is rising against the steep pay and pension cuts seen since the crisis first exploded in 2009, setting off a chain reaction across Europe.

Greece is now in its fifth year of recession, prompting many young Greeks to vote with their feet by emigrating, while local media warn the state will run out of cash to pay public-sector salaries and pensions on July 20.

The ballot passed off mostly smoothly although a ballot box was set on fire in the radical Exarchia district of

Athens and two grenades were found outside the offices of private media group Skai TV, which supports the austerity drive.
http://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/greek-pro-bailout-parties-win-201541746.html

Rizmi

Rizmi
Manager - Equity Analytics
Manager - Equity Analytics
European banking stocks fall despite Greek vote result

European banking stocks have fallen sharply despite the victory of the pro-bailout New Democracy party in Greece's elections on Sunday.

While the result raised hopes that Greece would stick to austerity measures and stay in the euro, analysts said that much uncertainty remained.

The fall in bank shares was seen across Europe, with Germany's Commerzbank down 3.6% and France's BNP losing 3.3%.

Spanish bond yields remained volatile, rising through the 7% danger level.

Wider share indexes were mixed. France's Cac was down 0.2% in afternoon trading, while Germany's Dax was 0.6% higher. Both had earlier risen 1%.

The UK's FTSE was up 0.3% after falling in early trading, while in New York, the Dow Jones was down 0.1% in opening exchanges.

Among other banking shares, Deutsche Bank was down 1%, while Credit Agricole had lost 2.9%. In the UK, Royal Bank of Scotland had given up 4.4%.

The interest rate on Spanish bonds - the eurozone country said to be most at risk of needing an international bailout in the future - hit another new high. The yield on Spain's 10-year bonds had initially fallen as low as 6.767%, before then rising to 7.144%.

Italy's 10-year bond yield also rose, hitting 6.08%, after earlier falling to 5.847%.

Euro slips
The main share indexes of Spain and Italy also fell.

Spain's Ibex was down 1.8%, while Italy's FTSE MIB lost 1.2%.

In the currency markets, the euro was slightly lower against the dollar, at $1.2628 from $1.2637 late on Friday.

Asian shares had earlier on Monday posted strong gains, with Japan's Nikkei 225 index and South Korea's Kospi both closing up 1.8%, while Australia's ASX 200 added 1.9%.

Antonis Samaras, the leader of the New Democracy party, said on Sunday that "the Greek people voted today to stay on the European course and remain in the eurozone".

"There will be no more adventures. Greece's place in Europe will not be put in doubt."

'Too euphoric'
Adrian Slack, head of equities at Bastion Capital, said the initial reaction to the Greek election result was "too euphoric".

He added: "Fundamentally, the problems [in Greece and the eurozone] haven't changed."

Peter Schiff, of the brokerage Euro Pacific Capital, added: "How long is it going to take for people to worry about Spain again?"

Spain's borrowing costs have been hitting euro-era record levels, indicating that lenders were concerned about Madrid's ability to repay its debts.

Last week, the ratings agency Moody's cut Spain's credit rating to one notch above "junk".

Yet other analsyts were more optimistic.

Masayuki Doshida, a senior market analyst at Rakuten Securities, said the victory of Greece's New Democracy party had allayed eurozone fears for now.

"There'll be a definite sense of relief spreading around today," said Masayuki Doshida, she said.

Fellow analyst, David Lennox of Fat Prophets, told the BBC that the worst of the Greek crisis could now be over.

"We think that early punters are already taking the view that a floor has been put under the crisis for now," he said.

Contagion concerns
The elections in Greece were being watched closely, not just by eurozone leaders but also investors all across the globe.

Greece, which is suffering from a sovereign debt crisis, has received two bailouts in the past two years.

It was given an initial package worth 110bn euros (£89bn; $138bn) in 2010, followed by another one agreed last year worth 130bn euros.

However, the EU and IMF have attached tough austerity measures, including state spending cuts, as pre-conditions to those packages.

There have been various demonstrations against these cuts in Greece and the Syriza party had said that it would renegotiate the conditions if it came to power.

It had led to fears that if eurozone leaders and Athens did not agree on the existing terms, Greece may be forced to leave the eurozone.

There were concerns that such a move may spread contagion to other eurozone countries and result in turmoil in the global economy.

However, the BBC's business editor, Robert Peston, said the new Greek government still faced an uphill challenge.

He said that bankers had told him Greece needed "eurozone governments and the European Central Bank to write off a big slug of what they are owed".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18482286

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