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International financial markets heaved a sigh of relief after Greeks in a crucial election gave the conservative New Democracy party a slender edge, clearly rejecting the leftist Syriza that was determined to take not just Greece, but even Europe over the edge of a dangerous precipice.

With a new coalition, comprising New Democracy and its long-time rival, the socialist Pasok, likely to be sworn in, Greece can now look forward to getting the conditional 130 billion euro bailout from the EU and the IMF, essential to rescue the republic from fiscal doom. The New Democracy-Pasok combination commands a clear majority in the 300-seat Greek parliament.

 As the rest of the world waited with bated breath, Greek voters decided it was time to bid goodbye to the era of political and financial irresponsibility. The Syriza party, which had threatened to tear up the agreement with Greece’s creditors, accepted the defeat gracefully. Antonis Samaras, the head of New Democracy, acknowledging the need for national unity in ensuring that Greece remains in the euro zone, admitted that the time for ‘political games’ was over. “The country must be governed,” he said after the results were in.

The slender victory for pragmatists, however, does not assure a painless transition for Greece. As creditors in Europe and the IMF insist on the government imposing radical new measures to curb spending, there are fears of rising social unrest in a nation where unemployment is raging at 22 per cent. The new government faces an uphill task as its creditors, including Germany, demand action before providing additional emergency loans. Greece and the global economy face daunting days ahead. While Greece is now unlikely to walk out of the euro zone, the looming crisis in Spain and Italy and the challenges being faced by other EU countries will ensure that the continent’s plight will take a long time to be resolved.
Khaleej Times
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  • Peter Falzon Saturday, 09 February 2019 07:55 PM

    World Malta Iva


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