Dec 2, 2014 8:56 AM

Greek opposition wants debt from bailout cut

The Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece (AP) The leader of Greece's popular left-wing opposition said Tuesday he will demand a reduction in the country's debt from its bailout, if his party comes to power in a possible snap election early next year.

Alexis Tsipras, head of the anti-bailout Syriza party, told a financial conference in Athens that his country's battered economy cannot recover unless the money owed to other eurozone countries is cut significantly.

"We demand the immediate end of austerity, an agreement for a haircut of the debt, and a significant cut in the annual cost of servicing the debt," Tsipras said, but did not elaborate.

The remarks followed speculation that the 40-year-old left-wing leader might soften his party's position ahead of a possible election.

Greece's conservative-led coalition government insists that its massive national debt is sustainable despite reaching roughly 175 percent of gross domestic product and that it will repay 240 billion euros ($300 billion) in bailout loans.

Syriza is leading opinion polls ahead of a parliamentary vote in February for the country's new president. The vote that could produce a stalemate and force the conservatives to call an early election.

The government is currently locked in negotiations with bailout inspectors over a new round of cuts demanded in exchange for final eurozone loan installments under the bailout program.

Tsipras accused the government of caving in to demands by creditors to impose harsh new measures with a new round of pension cuts and sales tax hikes in what he described as a "2.5 billion euro ($3.1 billion) u-turn."


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