The Freeland File
Global Market Data
Tales from the Trail
Lucy P. Marcus
David Cay Johnston
The Great Debate
Jack & Suzy Welch
Macro & Markets
Lipper Awards 2012
Personal Finance Video
Our best photos from the last 24 hours. See more
Images of April
One in seven thinks end of world is coming: poll
01 May 2012
Special Report: Documents allege HSBC money-laundering lapses
Yoga for jets: why planemakers prefer bent wingtips
Russia says it could pre-emptively strike missile shield
WRAPUP 10-Obama under pressure as China dissident appeals for help
Suicides have Greeks on edge before election
One in seven thinks end of world is coming: poll
As America’s waistline expands, costs soar
Oldest traces of blood found in Italy's prehistoric iceman
Wed, May 2 2012
Bronzed mother denies tanning five-year-old child
Jeremy Lin back to practicing with the Knicks
Wed, May 2 2012
Our day's top images, in-depth photo essays and offbeat slices of life. See the best of Reuters photography. See more | Photo caption
The tallest buildings in the world right now. Slideshow
The so-called "Lolita" style has found its way to Mexico. Slideshow
Greek conservative head makes last pitch to voters
Analysis: Greek election set to rock shaky euro zone
Greeks to vent rage in weekend election
Europeans protest austerity at May Day rallies
Tue, May 1 2012
Spanish economy in "huge crisis" after credit downgrade
Fri, Apr 27 2012
Euro zone's backlash whiplash: James Saft
Tue, Apr 24 2012
Analysis & Opinion
â€œThere are human beings involvedâ€ in austerity debate
Tumultuous euro zone week
Leader of the New Democracy conservatives party Antonis Samaras addresses the audience during a pre-election rally at Zappeion in Athens May 3, 2012.
Credit: Reuters/Yorgos Karahalis
By George Georgiopoulos
Thu May 3, 2012 3:56pm EDT
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek conservative leader Antonis Samaras on Thursday made a last-ditch appeal to voters in Athens, his biggest constituency, for a strong mandate in Sunday's elections to lead the debt-stricken country back to growth and stability.
Samaras, 60, is hoping a last-minute polarization of voters will get him enough ballots to rule alone, although recent polls hint this is unlikely, meaning a new coalition will need to be formed to carry on with policies agreed under an EU/IMF bailout.
"I don't want to co-govern with (socialist) PASOK," he told thousands of supporters waving Greek flags at a central Athens rally. "If we formed a government with PASOK we would be hostage to its policies, afraid at every step that the coalition may break up," he said.
The "troika" of IMF, EU and ECB lenders have said the election poses a big risk to the fiscal steps and reforms Greece needs to deliver to get cash and turn its ailing economy around, including 11 billion euros worth of new measures in June.
The country's pro-bailout parties also say that failure to stick with the terms of the 130 billion euro EU/IMF bailout - hugely unpopular because of the austerity it imposes on Greeks - may endanger Greece's future in the single currency, with dire risks for other EU peripheral states like Spain and Italy.
Much will depend on whether Samaras and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos can set aside differences and forge a viable coalition as neither party is likely to win an absolute majority alone. One sticking point is who gets to be prime minister.
PRIORITY IS GROWTH
Samaras promised measures to jump-start growth in an economy that is mired in a deep recession, hit hard by cuts in pay and pensions and higher taxes to plug fiscal shortfalls.
He pledged to reduce the corporate tax rate to 15 from 20 percent and lower the value added tax to 19 from 23 percent currently to create incentives.
"Growth means competitiveness, I am talking about a revolution in the tax system," Samaras told the cheering crowd.
"Let's prove that Greece can make it," he told the rally.
New Democracy backed austerity measures needed for the country's second bailout package. But Samaras has been a vocal critic of the belt-tightening prescribed by Europe, arguing it has led to a deep slump that hampers deficit reduction targets.
It is a view increasingly heard in the mounting debate in Europe over what critics say is the self-defeating nature of austerity-only policies.
"The plan to get us out of the crisis is simple: growth to halt the recession," Samaras said, pledging an amnesty to Greeks who sent money abroad in a bid to bring back deposits to the banking system and boost liquidity.
Samaras promised help for those on very low pensions and relief measures to households struggling to service their mortgages, saying loan payments must not exceed 30 percent of their income.
In a nod to voters to the far right, he also said his government would opt for a massive repatriation of illegal immigrants and secure borders.
(Editing by Mark Heinrich)
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Be the first to comment on reuters.com.
Add yours using the box above.
Back to top
New York Legal
Support & Contact
Connect with Reuters
Our Flagship financial information platform incorporating Reuters Insider
An ultra-low latency infrastructure for electronic trading and data distribution
A connected approach to governance, risk and compliance
Our next generation legal research platform
Our global tax workstation
About Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.