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Greek opposition winning parliamentary election with 43.3%

RIA Novosti

00:05 05/10/2009 ATHENS, October 4 (RIA Novosti) - Greece's Socialist opposition party PASOK won Sunday's parliamentary election in the Mediterranean country gaining 43.3% of the vote and will be able to form a one-party government, early results indicated.

With 20% of the ballots counted, PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement), led by former foreign minister George Papandreou, is gaining 160 seats in the 300-seat parliament.

The ruling conservative New Democracy party led by 53-year-old Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis gained 36% of the vote with 92 seats. The party has recognized its defeat in the election and Karamanlis has announced his resignation from the post of party leader.

The Communists (KKE) have slightly over 7%, followed by the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) with 5.3% and the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) with 4%. Other parties have failed to make it to parliament.

Greece currently faces increasing unemployment rates and one of the biggest public debts in the euro zone, amounting to nearly 100% of its GDP. Its budget deficit almost doubled the euro zone maximum of 3% and continues to grow.

Papandreou, 57, has said the economy needs a stimulus package to spur the GDP growth. Under Papandreou's plan, about 2-3 billion euro ($3-4.3 billion) would be allocated to stimulate the economy, followed by significant investment into infrastructure projects, science and education. He has also pledged a tax system reform and anti-corruption measures.

Karamanlis has said an austerity program, which would include cutting budget expenses and freezing wages and pensions, is the only way to compensate for the impact of the global financial crisis on the Greek economy. New Democracy has dismissed PASOK's program as "populist."

Both Karamanlis and Papandreou come from political dynasties and were facing off in the national elections for a third time. The previous two encounters were won by Karamanlis.

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