The stage is being set for a cliffhanger vote in Greece’s election on Sunday, as campaigning drew to a close on Friday. But the country’s 86 euro bailout programme is expected to be implemented, whatever the outcome. Ciara Lee reports.
Preparations are underway for Greece's weekend election. With opinion polls giving no clear winner, the next government looks all but set to be a coalition. Despite the potential cliffhanger, the two main players, former prime minister Alexis Tsipras's Syriza party and New Democracy are both pledging to uphold the terms of the country's 86-billion euro bailout. IDEAGlobal's Adrian Schmidt. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) SENIOR POLICY ECONOMIST/FX STRATEGIST AT IDEAGLOBAL, ADRIAN SCHMIDT SAYING: "Whoever wins will almost certainly implement the bailout programme. The only issue I can see perhaps there will be some greater confidence in some parties being more prepared to implement the programme than others." That will include overseeing deep economic reforms, including the recapitalisation of the country's banks. They'll also have to unwind the capital controls imposed this year to prevent an implosion of the financial system. But the two parties disagree on key issues including freeing up the labour market and immigration And analysts says it's going to take a long time before Greece can be transformed into a more competitive economy. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) SENIOR POLICY ECONOMIST/FX STRATEGIST AT IDEAGLOBAL, ADRIAN SCHMIDT SAYING: "They have to focus on the short term, before they can focus on the long term. Hopefully there are steps being taken behind the scenes or will be when the new government comes in, but that is going to be very much a long term story." And debt relief may be on the horizon. EU sources have told Reuters that euro zone governments are ready to cap the country's debt servicing costs at 15 per cent of GDP annually over the long-term, to help the economy grow.