How to vote in the general election at the European Parliament
2 May 2018 13:11:58The European Parliament is due to elect a new president on Friday after the European Central Bank announced it will be lending the continent’s fifth largest economy to help bail it out of its worst economic crisis in decades.
But the result could be far from assured for President Tsipras, who has vowed to stay in power and faces a crucial choice of his own.
Ahead of the vote, opinion polls have suggested Tsipas is likely to lose to a right-wing leader from the far-right, which has gained momentum in recent months.
However, the vote is expected to provide the first real test for his leadership since he took power in January, when the eurozone’s second-largest economy slid into a recession.
A total of 7,711 members of the European parliament will cast ballots on Thursday in a two-week election that will determine whether Greece will be able to remain in the single currency.
More:Greece is facing a huge task to revive its economy and save itself from the worst of its financial crisis.
It has been struggling to meet debt repayments, and its public debt has nearly tripled to 330 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
The government is struggling to balance the budget.
The eurozone’s top union has struggled to deal with its debts and is still struggling to find enough money to meet its commitments to its creditors.
Many Greeks say the bailout programme offered by the EU and IMF has failed and it needs help to get back on track.
Austerity measures and debt restructuring by Greece have been blamed for the country’s economic woes, but a poll conducted by the left-leaning centrist newspaper El Pais this week suggested a majority of Greeks were worried about the future of the country.
“The euro zone is not doing enough to help the Greek people and its economy,” said Ilias Panagiotopoulos, a political analyst at the Institute for Policy Studies.
“If Tsipars government fails to take action, the European Union and the IMF will have to step in.”
The vote comes amid growing discontent among Greeks with the austerity measures taken by the Syriza party led by Tsipraes.
Last week, Tsiprias government cut the pensions and benefits of thousands of public employees in the country, while imposing a 30 percent VAT hike on food, drinks and clothing.
He also announced plans to impose a one-off tax of 4.2 percent on petrol and diesel fuel.
The measures have sparked anger among the countrys biggest private sector companies and pension funds.
The countrys largest bank, Greek Savings Bank, warned that it may go bankrupt as a result of the measures.
The Greek finance minister said he was confident the measures would not cause financial hardship to the Greek economy.
But some economists say the measures are counterproductive, and could actually increase the countryís debt burden and risk a return to recession.
“It will be a big shock to the markets because they will see the damage done by the cuts,” said Nikos Karageorgy, a senior lecturer in economics at the Athens Institute of International Affairs.
“I expect the Greek markets to start to react to this, but they have not reacted yet.”
In a poll published on Monday, a YouGov poll suggested 61 percent of Greeks would vote against Tsipros leadership, with 39 percent supporting him and 13 percent undecided.
“I’m a little surprised because the polls have been showing a clear majority of people who voted for Tsipris are against austerity,” said Karageotis.
“It seems to me that many people are not on board with austerity.
They don’t want to see the country go through another crisis.”