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Greece PM Papandreou drops election threat

Greece PM Papandreou drops election threat
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Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Monday dropped his threat to call a snap election after his Socialist Party avoided a heavy defeat in the first round of regional elections.

The Socialists currently lead in seven of Greece’s 13 electoral regions. Turnout was 60 percent.

Papandreou said the results gave him a renewed mandate for his planned austerity measures.

“We know that change is not easy. But it was for this change that the Greek people brought us to power a year ago. And today it again confirmed that it wants this change,” he said, adding “we will continue with our task tomorrow.”

The austerity plan formed part of the 110-billion-euro bailout agreed with the IMF and the EU in May.

Under the agreement, Greece must implement deep spending cuts, reform pensions and liberalise a number of ‘closed-shop’ professions.

The aim is to reduce the country’s fiscal deficit and pay off its sovereign debt.

Investors feared the threat of a snap election and a new government would see some of those promises broken.

The second round of the regional poll takes place on November 14.

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