Greeks pull 2.5 billion euros from banks in December


Depositors in Greece have withdrawn a total of 2.5 billion euros (USD 3 billion) from bank accounts in December alone amid qualms of fresh political and economic instability in the country.

The Kathimerini daily said on Wednesday that the situation could only be ascribed to public fears before snap parliamentary elections on January 25.

In the upcoming vote, a leftist government may well take over and pursue Greece’s exit from the eurozone. Members of the leftist party, Syriza, have consistently topped opinion polls in recent months, promising to reverse austerity measures that secured an international bailout by the so-called troika of the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras warned that cash-strapped Greece may be forced out of the eurozone if the anti-austerity Syriza wins the polls next month.

“This struggle will determine whether Greece stays in Europe,” Samaras added.

The report said in November, 200 million euros were withdrawn from Greek banks, stressing, however, that the withdrawal of deposits during the past several weeks does not amount to a run on the bank.

The parliament in Greece was dissolved on Wednesday after Samaras requested the dissolution of the legislature following its failure to choose a new president after three successive rounds of voting.

Greece has been relying on international rescue loans since 2010. It has received 240 billion euros (USD 330 billion) in international loans. In exchange, Athens has implemented harsh austerity measures.

Greeks have lost about a third of their disposable income since the debt crisis erupted in 2009. The unemployment rate has also soared, leaving about one in four without a job.

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