Greeks weigh consequences of pivotal vote

By REUTERS
June 16, 2012 13:28

 
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ATHENS - Greeks weighed anger on Saturday at five years of biting recession with a deep fear of being forced from Europe's single currency on the eve of a pivotal election that could send shockwaves through global financial markets.

The vote on Sunday amounts to a referendum on the punishing terms set by international lenders as the price of saving debt-ridden Greece from bankruptcy - tax hikes, job losses and pay cuts that have helped condemn the country to record-breaking recession.

Riding a wave of anger from political obscurity to contender for power, radical leftist SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, 37, is threatening to tear up the bailout deal, saying Europe is bluffing when it threatens to cut Greece loose and risk a broader euro breakup.

On the right, establishment heir and New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras, 61, says that to reject the 130 billion euro ($163.75 billion) bailout deal would force a return to the drachma and even greater economic calamity.

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