Greek PM Papandreou rules out snap elections

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 03, 2011 8:08 AM

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou Saturday ruled out snap elections and said his government would succeed in bringing Greece out of the crisis by the end of his term in 2013.

Papandreou's socialist PASOK party is trailing in opinion polls and the government is facing a tough autumn as it tries to implement unpopular austerity measures to secure more EU/IMF funds.

"Citizens will judge us in 2013," Papandreou told members of his party at a conference marking its 37th anniversary.

"By then, we will have achieved bringing Greece out of the crisis and will have completed so many and important reforms," he said.

Political analysts see snap elections in the horizon and say the next few months are critical for the government as Greeks return from summer holidays to tougher austerity measures.

The government must also convince disgruntled lawmakers and an angry public that belt-tightening will pay off.

The government's failure to meet the fiscal targets set by its international lenders is also complicating Papandreou's task.

An official close to the inspectors said late Thursday that the 2011 budget deficit will be at least 8.6 percent of GDP, compared to a target of 7.6 percent.

Friday, Greece and an inspection EU/IMF team interrupted talks on a new aid tranche after disagreeing over why Athens has fallen behind schedule in cutting its budget deficit. Discussions are due to resume on Sept 14.

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Karolina Tagaris)