Greece elections: outcome may put country on collision course with EU

TDC Note – As many of you know today Greece votes for a new President. The Syriza Party has been in the lead in all polls for several weeks. The outcome, in my opinion, has implications way beyond the Greek border. This could be a tipping point, especially in light of the Swiss depegging a mere ten days ago, for the European Monetary Union. We will be updating how the vote is unfolding over the next several hours. by The Guardian After five brutal years of austerity and recession, Greeks are voting under clear skies in a high-stakes election that could put their country on a collision course with the European Union. Looking confident and relaxed, the Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras strode smiling up the steps of a primary school in the Kipseli neighbourhood of Athens to cast his vote in bright mid-morning sunshine. Final opinion polls on Friday showed his radical leftist party, which has pledged to overturn austerity and renegotiate Greece’s debt mountain, holding a comfortable lead of between four and seven percentage points over its main rival, the incumbent New Democracy. Surrounded by a throng of reporters and chanting supporters, Tsipras declared election day to be the “last step of the Greek people towards regaining social cohesion and dignity”. Europe’s future was “not the future of austerity – it is the future of democracy, solidarity and cooperation,” he added. His barnstorming alliance of Maoists, Marxists, Trotskyists, Euro-communists, Socialists and Greens looks sure to see off the conservatives of prime minister Antonio Samaras, but they are by no means certain to achieve the 151 seats they need to govern alone. Initial exit polls, considered a broadly reliable indication of the likely final result, are expected soon after polls close at 7pm (5pm GMT), and a more accurate estimate about two hours later. Voting in his home town of Pylos, in the Peloponnese, Samaras said the country would be taking a monumental risk by voting Syriza. “Today we decide if are going forward, or if we are going towards the unknown,” he said. Voters in Kipseli said the election felt like the most important in Greece’s recent history. “I just voted for the party that’s going to change Greece – in fact, the party that is going to change the whole of Europe,” said Panagiotis, 54, a self-employed electrician. “There has to be change, big change. The economy has collapsed. Poverty has reached proportions … People, ordinary people like you and me, are poking around in dustbins to get food to eat. The young can only find work abroad. Syriza is Greece’s hope.”

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