Greeks reject EU-IMF plan, want coalition rule

A majority of Greeks reject an economic recovery plan imposed in return for EU-IMF loans and would prefer a coalition government to emerge from upcoming elections, opinion polls showed on Saturday.

A poll by the MRB company showed that 26.2 percent of respondents intend to vote for a party opposed to the unpopular EU-IMF rescue in the May 6 ballot.

In response to another question, 66 percent said Greece should stay in the eurozone but adopt an alternative recovery plan, while 13.2 percent said the country should drop the euro altogether.

Greece in 2010 appealed to the European Union and the International Monetary Fund for loans to avert bankruptcy and was forced to put its economy in order.

In order to tackle runaway state deficits, it adopted tough austerity policies bringing layoffs, pay cuts and tax hikes.

There are now over a million unemployed according to official figures -- more than a fifth of the workforce -- and the country is sinking deeper into recession.

Those polled by MRB for Real News weekly also gave a negative evaluation to the outgoing administration of Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, who headed a temporary socialist-conservative coalition that brokered a new eurozone-IMF bailout in February and a huge debt cut in March.

Still, over 65 percent of respondents said a coalition government would be best suited to tackle the country's ongoing challenges.

Another poll by the Pulse company in Eleftheros Typos daily also found that 64 percent prefer a coalition to be formed after the election.

The leader of the frontrunning conservative party, Antonis Samaras, has rejected the idea of another coalition with the socialists.

Greece in June will attempt to chop another 11.5 billion euros ($15 billion) off spending by 2014 to meet conditions laid down under a previous EU-IMF debt rescue.

Both the conservatives and the socialists, who have alternated in power in the last three decades, have lost support to left-wing parties who oppose the austerity drive. A number of splinter parties have also emerged, making the upcoming campaign the most uncertain in decades. [AFP]