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Greek PM rules out election

GREEK Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis ruled out an early election and said yesterday his government's priority was dealing with the impact of the global economic downturn.

The ruling New Democracy party, which has a one-seat majority after winning re-election in 2007, faces rising popular discontent and a wave of leftist guerrilla violence.

Many analysts believe the government could be forced to hold an election this year, maybe as early as April, even though its term expires in 2011.

"I have made clear the issue (of elections) is not our concern. It is not bothering us. Elections are not in my mind. This discussion is over," Karamanlis said in a speech addressed to the youth wing of his party.

Karamanlis said the government's priority was to blunt the effects of the global crisis without putting its fiscal consolidation policy at risk.

"What really worries us at the moment is dealing with the impact of the world crisis on our country," he said.

"Our decision is to focus on today's needs without undermining our economy's strength."

Karamanlis invited opposition leaders on Friday to hold talks after Brussels started budget disciplinary steps because Greece's deficit exceeded the EU's ceiling of 3 percent of GDP.


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