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Election campaigning starts in Greece

Friday, April 27, 2012

Campaigning for next month’s parliamentary elections got underway in Greece on Thursday. Debates are heating up between ruling and opposition candidates over austerity measures implemented by the government.

The country’s 2 largest parties formed a coalition last November and launched an interim government. The group was successful in getting the parliament to enact strict belt-tightening measures that had been demanded in return for additional massive bailout funds from the EU and the IMF.

Last month, Greece officially received rescue loans of around 160-billion dollars.

This month’s elections were called to give the public an opportunity to pass judgment on the austerity measures that have made people’s lives difficult.
Amid violent protests against the austerity measures, the latest opinion polls show the 2 biggest parties will likely lose many seats in parliament, leaving neither of them with a single-party majority.

On the other hand, minority parties opposing the austerity are gaining support and are expected to increase the number of their seats.

Some voters in Athens say they will not go to the polls because no party is promoting desirable policies. Others say they want a government that can resist demands imposed by the EU.

If small parties gain seats — and if demands from voters for a review of the austerity measures increase — the EU might stop providing bailout funds to Greece. This is a scenario that could rekindle uncertainty over European credit stability.

Friday, April 27, 2012