Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Greek conservative learns from debacle, but maybe too late

June 12, 2012

Antonis Samaras swallowed his fear of hecklers, took off his jacket and mingled with the crowd, part of an energetic makeover that the veteran conservative leader hopes will win Sunday's election and save Greece.

In a country where politicians are routinely spattered with yoghurt or pelted with eggs by furious voters, his walkabout in the town of Corinth over the weekend counts as a bold move.

After spectacularly botching an election last month that he called himself - with a muddled message and a misfired campaign against the wrong enemy - Samaras, 62, now appears to have learnt his lesson and is hitting his stride.

But with just days left before a repeat election that could determine Greece's future in the euro currency, he has little time left to end a surge by a radical leftist who could ride anger against economic crisis into the premiership.

The newly-focused Samaras is determined to persuade Greeks - nearly 80 percent of whom want to keep the euro - that his New Democracy party is the only choice to prevent economic collapse and a catastrophic return to the old Greek currency.


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