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All eyes on Greece in pivotal vote for its eurozone future

All eyes on Greece in pivotal vote for its eurozone future
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The world is watching as Greece votes in a cliffhanger re-run election that could push it out of the eurozone and trigger turmoil in global financial markets.

The ballot amounts to a referendum on the punishing terms set by international lenders as the price of saving the debt-ridden country from bankruptcy.

On the right, New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras, 61, says rejecting the EU/IMF bailout would mean a return to the drachma and even greater economic calamity.

Final opinion polls put his party neck and neck with SYRIZA, the radical left political movement led by Alexis Tsipras, 37, who is threatening to tear up the bailout deal.

Voters are weighing anger at years of recession with a deep fear of being forced out of Europe’s single currency.

In Athens, unemployed SYRIZA supporter Yannis Kobogiannis, 57, said: “Until now the parties in power did nothing. Now I will vote for another party which I believe might make a change.”

But others, like teacher Petros Rosos, 47, think more of the same is the only way.

“I will vote for a party that will carry on with the bailouts and the reforms linked to the bailouts,” he said.

Last month’s election was a stalemate and this time round no outright winner is expected, meaning coalition talks would be needed.

Meanwhile, tax rises, job losses and pay cuts continue to take their toll on an increasingly stressed Greek society.