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Greece's Samaras takes a gamble

Friday, December 12, 2014 - 01:55

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras raises the stakes ahead of this month's presidential election, warning Greece risks a ''catastrophic'' return to its debt crisis if his government falls. Amy Pollock reports.

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The Parthenon has regained its marbles - in Lego form, at least. The 120,000 brick model of the Acropolis is now on display at the monument's museum in Athens Things are looking better in miniature than in real life for troubled Greece. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras brought forward a key presidential vote this week - this may trigger a snap general election if the government can't muster enough support for its presidential candidate. And that's likely to see the radical anti-bailout party Syriza take power. An event that's already spooking markets, says the Prime Minister; (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) GREEK PRIME MINISTER, ANTONIS SAMARAS, SAYING: "We don't need to say anything, the fear that they are spreading speaks for itself." With Greek shares falling more than 20 percent this week, and bond yields shooting back up over nine percent, the government is warning a Syriza win could push Greece out of the euro. The government is appealing to Greeks to stop it getting that far. The country's foreign minister speaking in Berlin: (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) GREEK DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AND FOREIGN MINISTER EVANGELOS VENIZELOS SAYING: "We believe that the sense of the task at hand and the Greek people's awareness of what is at stake will allow us to elect a president and avoid fresh elections." Investors have clearly been shaken by the political uncertainty in Greece. European shares were on track for their biggest weekly loss in two and half years, with Greek woes contributing. Merit Securities' Nikos Kafkas thinks Greek shares could take a further battering (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) MERIT SECURITIES FINANCIAL ANALYST, NIKOS KAFKAS, SAYING: ''As you understand, the markets don't see this positively, we have seen their reaction already, that is where things could get complicated and that is a period where the markets, where the Athens general index could lose as much as 800-750 points." Samaras has to rely on independent lawmakers in the presidential vote. Making it far from certain he can avoid another political - and financial - crisis.

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Greece's Samaras takes a gamble

Friday, December 12, 2014 - 01:55