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Greece Opposition Seeks Debt Repayment Delay

Speaking earlier at the same conference, the leader of the left-wing anti-bailout party that is leading opinion polls called for a delay in the repayment of the country's rescue loans until the recession is over.

Alexis Tsipras, who heads the main opposition Radical Left Coalition Party, argued that the austerity policies pursued by Samaras' government would continue to weaken Greece's economy and leave the country ever-more reliant on emergency loans.

"What we ask for is time," Tsipras said. "We ask for a suspension â¿¿ a moratorium â¿¿ of servicing the debt until the country returns to a course of growth, so that we can mobilize resources, restart the economy, and bring growth."

Tsipras said the new terms set out by the IMF and its 16 euro partners fell short of a viable solution.

"Unfortunately, they have postponed reaching a lasting settlement for the country's debt and crisis," he said. "This will only extend the uncertainty."

The 38-year-old Tsipras saw a five-fold increase in popular support for his party between general elections in 2009 and June 2012 as he campaigned by attacking Greece's political establishment and economic austerity.

The conservative-led government says his policies are populist and unrealistic and would see Greece default on its debt and leave the eurozone.

Tsipras, who has led opinion polls for about three months, insisted that his party â¿¿ an often-squabbling alliance of a dozen small left-wing groups â¿¿ is ready to govern.

"Our program is based on the intention to renegotiate the (bailout) agreement with our partners â¿¿ not to repeat the causes of the crisis but to deal with them," he said.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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