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Greeks Face Decisive Vote as Anti-German Sentiment Soars

Greeks Face Decisive Vote as Anti-German Sentiment Soarsi
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Henry Ridgwell
May 24, 2012 1:24 AM
Greek voters return to the polls in a few weeks to cast their ballots in a repeat election that could decide their future in the eurozone. With a Greek exit from the euro being openly discussed in European capitals, there are fears of bank runs. As Henry Ridgwell reports from Athens, there are few signs that Greek voters will deliver a different result the second time around.
Greeks Face Decisive Vote as Anti-German Sentiment Soars
Henry Ridgwell
Greek voters return to the polls in a few weeks to cast their ballots in a repeat election that could decide their future in the eurozone.  With a Greek exit from the euro being openly discussed in European capitals, there are fears of bank runs. There are few signs that Greek voters will deliver a different result the second time around.

Athens’ oldest university has become a canvas for citizens venting their anger.

Anger at the government... anger at capitalism...calls for banks to be burned.

There is much anger too at Germany. Athens resident Anastasis Koutsoukos interrupted VOA’s filming to make his point.

“[German Chancellor Angela] Merkel has the ideology of ‘pan-Germanism’. All is Germany. That is the problem,” he said.

It is a common sentiment. On June 17, Greeks return to the polls.

The EU warns that Greece’s future in the euro is at stake.
Voters who spoke to VOA appeared strongly divided.

“They try to push the Greeks to accept something that is unbearable. The [austerity] memorandum is unbearable, simply.  It will make the Greek economy a desert,” said Athens resident Theo Phanis.

“Voting for a party won’t make things better. Only the people themselves can make things better. Am I optimistic? No,” said student Katy Volonaki.

On April 4 Dimitris Christoulas, a 77-year-old pharmacist, shot himself. In his pocket was a note saying that he couldn’t bring himself to go searching through the garbage to feed himself.

Greek supporters, and campaigners from across the world, have turned the spot where he died in front of parliament into a shrine against austerity.

Still, polls show an overwhelming majority of Greeks want to stay in the euro.
Konstantis Michalos, president of the Athens Chamber of Commerce, says there will be no easy Greek exit from the single currency.

“Greece may be in the spotlight at the moment but it’s not just Greece. We’ve got Italy, we’ve got Portugal, and we have Spain, and potentially France. So Germany has to look seriously towards this situation because, in a few months’ time, we will have an addition to this long list of problematic economies from northern European states.”

Fears of a run on Greek banks have so far not materialized.

But the uncertainty over Greece’s future in the eurozone is causing instability across the world economy... and prolonging the agony of the Greek people.

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