[QODLink]
Europe
Greek PM announces snap election
Conservatives seek a fresh mandate to deal with the economic crisis.
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2009 19:35 GMT
Karamanlis said he would ask President Carolos Papoulias to dissolve parliament on Thursday [AFP]

Costas Karamanlis, the Greek prime minister, has called an early general election as he seeks a fresh mandate to deal with the economic crisis.

Karamanlis made the announcement on Wednesday, despite the opposition of several members of his cabinet.

Karamanlis said he would ask President Carolos Papoulias to dissolve parliament on Thursday. The election will be held on October 4, a senior government official said.

"We are asking Greeks to trust us to take it out of a difficult economic crisis, and I am asking for a fresh political mandate to do this," Karamanlis said in a televised address to the nation.

"If we do not act immediately, then the consequences will be great, with 2010 a difficult year ahead for the economy."

Difficult times

The move is risky as his scandal-plagued conservative New Democracy government trails the main opposition socialist Pasok party by about six percentage points in opinion polls.

In depth

Video: Thousands flee Greece fires

Gallery: Greece on fire

The conservatives, who currently have a one-seat majority in parliament, have suffered months of scandals and their popularity has sunk lower after criticism of their response to recent wildfires which hit the outskirts of the Greek capital last month.

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.

Pasok advocates a "green growth" economic model.

They have said that if the election fails to win an outright majority, they will call for a second vote under a revised electoral law that makes it easier to form a government with fewer votes.

Seen by investors as the euro zone's riskiest bet, Greece is struggling to cope with the global slowdown that is threatening to push its economy into recession this year while its national debt is ballooning.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
Amid vote audit and horse-trading, politicians of all hues agree a compromise is needed to avoid political instability.
Part of the joint accord aimed at ending the political impasse establishes an independent National Election Commission.
Rights groups say the US prosecution of terrorism cases targets Muslims and are fraught with abuses.
Local painters forgo experimentation to cater to growing number of foreign buyers.
Cyprus is a tax haven and has long attracted wealthy Russians, but it could become a European energy hub.
join our mailing list