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Greek snap election set for September 20

AFP | Next month's snap election will be Greece's fifth in six years

Greece's president confirmed the widely-expected date of September 20 for the country's snap election on Friday as an opinion poll suggested former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras would fall short of a decisive victory.

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The state-run ANA news agency said President Prokopis Pavlopoulous had signed a decree dissolving parliament and paving the way for the crisis-hit country's fifth election in six years.

The snap poll was triggered by Tsipras's abrupt resignation last week, just days after he clinched an 86 billion euro ($97.2 billion) bailout package from European and International Monetary Fund lenders.

Tsipras was hoping to consolidate his power after cracks emerged in his left-wing Syriza party in the wake of the acrimonious bailout deal.

An opinion poll released on Friday suggested the gamble may backfire, with Syriza set to emerge as the biggest party in next month's election, but without the margin it was hoping for.

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Syriza was supported by 23 percent of those polled, with the conservative New Democracy party second on 19.5 percent, according to the survey, carried out by pollsters ProRata and published in Friday's Efimerida Ton Syntakton newspaper.

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More than a quarter of people surveyed remained undecided, making the final outcome far from clear.

Tsipras remained the most popular political leader with 41 percent of voters having a positive or very positive view, but New Democracy leader Vangelis Meimarakis was not far behind with 34 percent.

The survey also found that almost two thirds of voters felt Tsipras should not have sought a fresh mandate and that his favoured coalition ally would not make it into parliament.

Caretaker government

The snap election has raised concern among Greece's creditors, who fear it will delay implementation of urgent reforms included in the bailout deal.

A caretaker government led by Supreme Court judge Vassiliki Thanou was sworn in earlier on Friday, comprising both technocrats and political figures.

The latter include George Chouliarakis, who was part of Greece's bailout negotiating team under Syriza, as interim finance minister.

Chouliarakis took a decisive role in the talks in the summer and his appointment is likely to be seen as a positive for keeping the country's bailout programme on track.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

 

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