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Greeks narrowly support austerity measures: poll

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(ATHENS) - Most Greeks would rather accept the harsh terms of an austerity package imposed by foreign creditors than see their country go broke, a poll published Sunday suggested.

Half the country believes the drastic spending cuts demanded by the European Union and the International Monetory Fund "should be applied but renegotiated," said a poll conducted by the pro-Socialist Ethnos daily newspaper.

But even if the package could not be renegotiated, 57 percent of 1,014 people polled said the country should accept the deal.

Only 22.7 percent said it should be rejected "even at the cost of bankruptcy"; 21.6 percent dismissed the possibility of renegotiation because Greece had to accept the deal, "like it or not."

The poll was conducted between June 21 and June 23.

The Greek parliament is set to vote on a new round of austerity measures Wednesday as unions stage a general strike in protest at the measures.

Greece has debts of some 350 billion euros and needs a second bailout worth more than 100 billion euros after a 110-billion-euro bailout by the EU and the IMF last year proved insufficient.

In exchange however, the EU and IMF have demanded further public spending cuts and an aggressive privatisation plan.

Newly appointed Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos has not yet provided all the details of the plan.

But he had criticised it as unfair, disproportionately tough on the working class, warning it could worsen the country's ongoing recession.

The poll also showed 21.4 percent support for the centre-right opposition, narrowly ahead of the ruling socialists on 20 percent.

But Socialist Prime Minister George Papandreou holds a slight personal advantage (21.5 percent support) over his centre-right rival, Antonis Samaras (20.4 percent).

Three quarters of respondents said they backed the "indignants" group, which has staged a series of protests against the government's response to the debt crisis.


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