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Europe

Prime minister calls early parliamentary elections

Video by Aude SOUFI , Siobhán SILKE

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-09-03

Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has announced that he is calling early parliamentary elections, saying he needed a "fresh political mandate" to deal with the problems confronting the country, including an economic slowdown.

REUTERS - Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday announced an early parliamentary election without giving a date, saying Greece needed to clear the political landscape as the global downturn hit the country.

 

"I am seeking a fresh political mandate," Karamanlis said in a televised speech to the nation. "Taking necessary measures imposes one solution: the clearing of the political landscape and a fresh popular mandate."

 

It usually takes about a month in Greece from the announcement date to the snap election.

 

Greece is struggling to cope with the global slowdown that is threatening to push its economy into recession this year while its national debt, the euro zone's second biggest, is ballooning.

 

The scandal-plagued conservative New Democracy government trails the main opposition socialist PASOK party by about 6 points in opinion polls. His four-year term would normally end in 2011.

 

The socialists, themselves burdened with scandals during decades in government, have long pressed for an early vote and would have been in position to force one in March.

 

National elections in Greece are traditionally coupled with government handouts and a freeze in implementing policy.

 

Date created : 2009-09-02

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