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Greek Party Leading Polls Pledges 'Business-Friendly' Country

Reported by Julia Chatterley, written by Catherine Boyle
Monday, 28 May 2012 | 4:49 AM ET

Greece will try to attract investment by becoming more “business-friendly” and cutting taxes, a politician from right-wing New Democracy, which is leading opinion polls at the moment, told CNBC Monday.

Greek Parliament
PNC | Brand X Pictures | Getty Images
Greek Parliament

New Democracy edged ahead of left-wing Syriza in polls at the weekend. The rise in support for anti-bailout Syriza has been one of the key factors dragging down markets in recent weeks.

New Democracy, which has been one of the biggest political parties in Greece for decades, is a better-known quantity – and its leaders have more experience of international diplomacy and negotiation than Syriza, which has never led a coalition government before.

Thousands of irate Greeks posted on Christine Lagarde’s Facebook page at the weekend after the head of the International Monetary Fund suggested Greeks needed to stop evading taxes and said she had more sympathy with children in Africa than with struggling Greeks, in an interview with The Guardian.

“We have proposed specific measures to tackle the problem of tax evasion,” Notis Mitarakis, alternate head of economic policy, New Democracy, told CNBC, after admitting that it was a problem.

Greece Needs to Become More Business Friendly: New Democracy
Notis Mitarakis, alternate head of economic policy for New Democracy, told CNBC, "Eighty percent of Greeks would like Greece to remain within the euro zone; the problem we are now facing is a very deep recession for five consecutive years that has made all the targets of the program not have been met."

“Now, tax revenues are impacted by the cyclical element which means that there is no profit to tax. People owe money but they don’t have the money to pay it because the banking system is not working.”

He also said that a new Greek government needed to “take measures to change what’s not working” about the current bailout. Some have criticized the current bailout program agreed with the troika of the IMF, European Central Bank and European Commission for emphasizing austerity at the expense of growth.

“The problem we are facing is a very deep recession. What’s critical is to take measures to grow the economy. Without job creation, we won’t be able to meet the demands of the program,” Mitarakis warned.

Contact Europe: Economy

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