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Snap Elections in Greece Put Crucial Projects on Backburner, Impact Tourism

Greek ParliamentGreeks are set to vote on January 25 after Prime Minister Antonis Samaras failed for the third time to convince lawmakers to support his nominee, Stavros Dimas, for president.

Amid plunging stocks, market insiders are up in arms, claiming the announcement of snap elections on Monday has already taken its toll and will immediately impact the tourism sector as major projects underway such as the 800 million euro airport at Kastelli on Crete will come to a standstill.

According to data released by the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), bookings for 2015 have dropped by 50 percent compared to earlier this month.

“The opposition and our fellow political companions have made a huge mistake,” Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni told Ant1 News.

“We are now called upon to fight a massive battle to keep Greece high up,” she added.

The political turmoil following the announcement of snap elections is expected to have an massive impact on the market particularly at a time when Greece was showing some signs of recovery since it fell into crisis in 2010.

Market insiders fear that investors will be put off should opposition party Syriza win the elections.

In the meantime, leftist Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras said the Greek people are now determined to put an end to austerity and described the announcement of elections as a “historic day”.

Tsipras plans to renegotiate Greece’s bailout terms should he be announced victor on January 25.

The leftist leader has recently said that should his party win, it would not continue with the current tourism model that is based on the creation of large resorts and holiday homes in environmentally sensitive areas.

“To develop our tourism we must preserve what makes it a competitive advantage, which is none other than the incomparable natural environment of our country,” he said.

According to Naftemporiki daily, a latest opinion poll finds Syriza ahead of the New Democracy party by three percentage points.

Samaras’ term was due to end in 18 months.

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