Europe holds its breath on election

New Democracy party supporters at a final rally before elections today.  Photo / Petros Giannakouris
New Democracy party supporters at a final rally before elections today. Photo / Petros Giannakouris

Greek voters hold the fate of the eurozone in their hands.

Campaigning has ended ahead of a crucial election today that could determine Greece's future in the eurozone.

At a final rally, the head of the conservative New Democracy Party summarised the vote as a choice between keeping the euro and returning to the drachma.

Rival party Syriza claims it wants to stay in the euro, but opposes the terms of an international bailout.

Unofficial polls have the two parties neck and neck.

The election raises fears that a Greek exit from the euro could spread contagion to other eurozone members and put the global economy into turmoil.

The election, the second in six weeks, was called after a vote on May 6 proved inconclusive. with no party or coalition able to form a government.

The head of New Democracy, Antonis Samaras, broadly accepts Greece's international bailout, but says he will renegotiate the terms of the agreement to seek a better deal.

Many Greeks are unhappy with the austerity conditions.

Samaras also said he could lead a coalition of other centre-right parties and the Socialist Pasok party.

Samaras' main rival is Alexis Tsipras, the youthful head of the left-wing Syriza party.

Meanwhile, The Guardian reported European leaders were seeking to calm fears that the Greek election would trigger a run on eurozone banks after polls showed Syriza could deny pro-austerity parties overall control in the election.

British Prime Minister David Cameron joined German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and French president, Francois Hollande, in emergency talks to prepare for the election aftermath. A


-Agencies

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