Greece on Brink of Crucial Vote

World | June 16, 2012, Saturday // 13:48
Greece on Brink of Crucial Vote: Greece on Brink of Crucial Vote In their majority, common Greeks are unhappy with the harsh conditions attached to the bailout. Photo by BGNES

Greek politicians have officially ended their election campaigning Saturday, one day before citizens are to cast a vote that is crucial for the country's Eurozone future.

Unofficial polls forecast a small margin and a heated race between the conservative New Democracy Party and the left-wing Syriza.

"Sunday's vote is being watched around the world, amid fears that a Greek exit from the euro could spread contagion to other Eurozone members and send turmoil throughout the global economy," BBC writes.

The elections come after a vote on May 6 whose inconclusive results prevented all parties from forming a coalition cabinet.

On Friday, the head of New Democracy, Antonis Samaras, told supporters he would lead the country out of the financial crisis, while keeping Greece part of the Eurozone. He is known as supporter of the international bailout, but promises to renegotiate its terms.

Samaras also said he could lead a coalition of other center-right parties and the Socialist PASOK.

Similarly to New Democracy, the socialist PASOK agrees to austerity measures in return for the last EU/IMF EUR 130 B bailout. Syriza, which came second on May 6, insists any new government must cancel the measures.

In their majority, common Greeks are unhappy with the harsh conditions attached to the bailout.

Alexis Tsipras, leader of Syriza, despite rejecting the bailout, insists that Greece stays in the Eurozone.

"The memorandum of bankruptcy will belong to the past on Monday. Brussels expect us, we are coming on Monday to negotiate over people's rights, to cancel the bailout," he told supporters at his final campaign rally.

Germany, the most powerful EU economy, stresses that Greece, like other member-states which have received international bailouts, must abide by the austerity conditions.

Other leading European figures, including European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso, have also warned that Greece must respect the terms of the bailout deal if it wants to remain in the Eurozone.

The uncertainty has alarmed Greece's international creditors, who insist the country must keep to the terms of the bailout deal if it is to continue receiving funds and avoid bankruptcy.

Greece's Central Bank and the Finance Ministry are working on an emergency plan to prevent bankruptcy if the bailout loans come to a halt.

Leading news agencies report that according to analysts, funds needed to pay wages, retirement pensions, welfare and others top EUR 4 B a month and the Greek State only has funding for them until mid-July.

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Tags: greece, elections, vote, polls, Pole, Eurozone, bailout, austerity, measures, New Democracy, Syriza, PASOK, Antonis Samaras, Alexis Tsipras, Angela Merkel, Jose Manuel Barroso

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