Greek PM calls snap election, date yet to be announced

GREECE

Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday evening announced the holding of a snap general election in a television speech to the nation.

In prefacing announcement, Karamanlis underlined the need for immediate and significant reforms and measures to deal with the repercussions of the international economic crisis and what he called decades-old problems in the domestic economy and public sector.

Among others, he said strict fiscal discipline, a “war” on tax evasion — a severe problem in the country — and long-sought structural reforms are imperative. However, he pointed out that reforms necessitate a stable political system.

Karamanlis said he has already briefed President Karolos Papoulias over his decision and will visit the president on Thursday to officially request early elections.
It usually takes about a month in Greece from the announcement date to the snap election.

Karamanlis and his government’s four-year term would normally end in 2011. However, the ruling conservative New Democracy government has been plagued by scandals in the past year and has long been pressed for an early vote.

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