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Greek Election: Syriza Party Lead Exit Polls

Polls have closed in the Greek elections which could see the radical leftist Syriza party take power, which has pledged to ditch painful austerity measures imposed during the economic crisis - reported the SkyNews.   It is leading exit polls ahead of the official election result. Syriza's Alex Tspiras has promised to renegotiate the terms of the bailout Victory for the party would set the stage for a clash with European creditors. Syriza's 40-year-old leader, Alexis Tspiras, has promised to renegotiate the repayment terms of Greece's €318bn debt and restore the country's "dignity" by tackling the soaring unemployment and mass wage cuts that followed the country's international bailout. Opinion polls give Syriza at least a four point lead over the New Democracy party, led by incumbent Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. But Syriza's refusal to continue meeting the austerity demands placed on Greece by its creditors has sparked fears the country may be unable to repay its debts, which could force the country's exit from the Eurozone. Mr Samaras has insisted voters would be making a huge mistake to elect Syriza at a time when painful fiscal reforms may be about to pay-off. The Greek government was forced to undertake deep budget cuts and fiscal reforms as a condition for a €240bn euro bailout in 2010 from the so-called "Troika" - the group of creditors made up of the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank. Many in Greece feel slashed public spending has hit the most vulnerable hardest, while leaving the tax evasion and corruption of the apparent elites untouched. Mr Tspiras has committed to working with the ECB to renegotiate the terms of the bailout  - the deadline for such a move being July, the month when Greece will no longer be able to pay its debts without a further injection of funds. But the ECB and IMF have said the regime of demands around growth targets and deficit reduction must remain in place, meaning a stand-off with Syriza may become inevitable should it win the election. However, Syriza's position will be determined by the final outcome of the vote, due to Greece's system of proportional representation. If the party can achieve a simple majority of more than 150 of the 300 parliamentary seats, this would enable it to take a tougher stance in its negotiations. But if it is forced to form a coalition government, this could limit its options.

Jan. 25, 2015, 7:22 p.m. PHOTO
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Greek Election: Syriza Party Lead Exit Polls