* Radical left, conservative right neck and neck
* Left threatening to tear up terms of bailout
* Result could push Greece to leave the euro
By Greg Roumeliotis
ATHENS, June 16 Greeks weighed anger on Saturday
at five years of biting recession with a deep fear of being
forced from Europe's single currency on the eve of a pivotal
election that could send shockwaves through global financial
The vote on Sunday amounts to a referendum on the punishing
terms set by international lenders as the price of saving
debt-ridden Greece from bankruptcy - tax hikes, job losses and
pay cuts that have helped condemn the country to record-breaking
Riding a wave of anger from political obscurity to contender
for power, radical leftist SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, 37, is
threatening to tear up the bailout deal, saying Europe is
bluffing when it threatens to cut Greece loose and risk a
broader euro breakup.
On the right, establishment heir and New Democracy leader
Antonis Samaras, 61, says that to reject the 130 billion euro
($163.75 billion) bailout deal would force a return to the
drachma and even greater economic calamity.
Wrapping up his campaign on Friday night before several
thousand supporters waving Greek and EU flags in the capital's
central Syntagma square, Samaras said: "We are going into an
election to decide the future of Greece and of our children."
The vote is a re-run of a May 6 election that produced
stalemate, when anger at the close-knit and often corrupt
political clique that has run Greece for years propelled SYRIZA
from the political fringe into second place.
"My heart says I should vote for the left, for all the
horrible things these (mainstream) politicians have done to us,
but my mind says vote for the right, so that Greece does not
leave the euro," said part-time teacher Kostas Manitsas, 28.
A SYRIZA victory on Sunday could sow turmoil on global
financial markets, just as leaders of the Group of 20 world
economic powers gather in Mexico for a meeting dominated by the
"Tomorrow's vote must not be based on anger but on hope,"
the liberal left daily Ta Nea implored in an editorial. "It must
be based on the Greece of the euro, not the Greece of the
Greeks say they want to keep the euro, but they do not want
the pension, wage and jobs cuts imposed by the bailout package
and which have seen living standards plummet and unemployment
reach almost 23 percent.
The country's lenders in the European Union and
International Monetary Fund say they cannot have one without the
"Public opinion polls, as well as the May 6 vote, show that
those who want the euro overwhelmingly outnumber those who
reject it or are willing to sacrifice it for their own
party-political purposes," wrote the centre-left daily Ethnos.
Opinion polls published until a ban two weeks ago put the
two parties almost neck and neck. Neither is expected to win
outright, triggering coalition talks.
Eurogroup head Jean-Claude Juncker urged Greeks not to turn
their backs on the euro, for their own sakes as well as the sake
of the 17-member currency union, with the far larger economies
of Spain and Italy also on the ropes.
"If the radical left wins - which cannot be ruled out - the
consequences for the currency union are unforeseeable," Juncker,
head of the group of euro zone finance ministers, told Austrian
"We will have to speak to any government. I can only warn
everyone against leaving the currency union. The internal
cohesion of the euro zone would be in danger."