Greek voters deal blow to parties that have governed for decades
By ELENA BECATOROS and DEREK GATOPOULOS , The Associated Press
Greeks angered by a protracted financial crisis punished the parties that have dominated politics for decades Sunday, with projected election results showing them hemorrhaging support to anti-bailout groups and no party gaining enough ballots to form a government.
Responding quickly to the protest vote, the heads of the parties in first and second place pledged to seek to either renegotiate the terms of Greece's multibillion dollar international bailout agreement or overturn it.
More than two years of repeated austerity measures in return for bailout loans from other European Union countries and the IMF have pushed Greece into a deep recession that has seen the jobless rate explode and tens of thousands of businesses close. The misery has infuriated voters who on Sunday dealt a massive blow to the decades-old dominance of the country's two main parties, the socialist PASOK and conservative New Democracy.
This decisive rejection of austerity seems likely to be followed in Italy and other nations whose voters will not accept years of misery under austerity regimes mandated by EU fiscal watchdogs.
No longer is the EU in danger of collapse -- it HAS collapsed. It only remains to be seen how many nations will follow Greece in rejecting EU financial controls.
Greek voters will now discover that leaving the EU may be worse than austerity, for a return to the drachma will leave Greece unable to finance its sovereign debt on any terms other than ruinous defaulter interest rates.