Few fans for head of economy

The majority of Greeks have no confidence in the way National Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis has handled the economy in the wake of the global crisis and believe the country’s purse strings should be taken away from him, according to a survey made public yesterday. The survey, commissioned by Kathimerini, found that three-quarters of those questioned were skeptical about Alogoskoufis’s handling of the deteriorating economic conditions, while 24 percent gave his policies the thumbs up. As expected, PASOK voters were harsher, with 96 percent not supporting the minister, while New Democracy voters where split roughly down the middle on whether they approved of the minister’s policies or not. Greece’s economy has started to feel the pinch from the global slowdown, but is expected to perform better than many of its eurozone peers as Europe is seen struggling in recession next year. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the European Commission, Greece’s economic growth rates will slow to around 1.9-2.5 percent next year on slowing consumption spending and investment growth, down from more than 3 percent in 2008. The conservative goverment has said that there is little margin to provide the economy with fiscal stimulus due to the country’s high public debt and budget deficit. In August, Alogoskoufis announced the introduction of a series of new taxes and also abolished a tax-free threshold for the self-employed in steps aimed at keeping the budget deficit below 3 percent. Questioned on whether the finance minister should be replaced, two-thirds of respondents said he must go, with 28 percent stating that he should stay. The survey, by Public Issue, questioned 512 people across Greece on December 4.

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