Samaras Bids to Save Greece After Years Thwarting Rescue Plans

Jonathan Stearns, Bloomberg, 04.05.2012

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Antonis Samaras has morphed into Europe’s main hope for a stable government in Greece after having been the biggest irritant.

Head of the New Democracy party topping polls before the May 6 election, Samaras rejected Greece’s first bailout as the nation teetered on the verge of default two years ago. He then resisted spending cuts designed to keep aid flowing and prevent economic collapse. His brinkmanship led European Commission President Jose Barroso to tell Samaras last November to stop playing “political games.” […]

“I think pragmatism will prevail,” Janis Emmanouilidis, of the European Policy Centre in Brussels, said in an interview. At the same time, “Samaras may not get the benefit of the doubt. The perception emerged outside Greece that he was obstructing certain policies and putting party and individual interests above national interests.” […]

Lack of Trust

“Outside Greece, the trust toward Greek political elites isn’t very high,” Emmanouilidis said. Samaras would have to restore confidence in a country whose benchmark stock index has lost more than two thirds of its value since October 2009 and whose 10-year bond yield rose above 35 percent in March. After the restructuring, the yield is now at 19.8 percent. […]

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