Germany's Merkel, Greek president discuss euro vote

May 18, 2012 21:47

ATHENS - German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed with Greece's President on Friday whether his country should hold a referendum on staying in the Euro, but the idea was vehemently rejected by Greece's two biggest parties.

Merkel spoke on the phone with Greek President Karolos Papoulias, who failed this week to convince political leaders to form a government after an inconclusive May 6 election, meaning the vote will be held again on June 17.

"(Merkel) relayed to the President (Karolos Papoulias) thoughts about holding a referendum in parallel with the elections on the question whether Greek citizens wish to remain in the euro zone," Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tsiodras said in a statement.

Greek parties backing the country's international bailout failed to win a majority on May 6. European Union leaders and officials have since warned that if the country fails to elect a pro-bailout government sticking to its harsh austerity measures, Athens might have to abandon to euro.

Greece's two biggest parties, the pro-bailout conservative New Democracy and the anti-bailout radical leftist SYRIZA, rejected the idea of a referendum.

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