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AP PHOTOS: Greeks’ expectations ahead of July 7 election

July 3, 2019
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In this Wednesday, June 12, 2019 photo, Haralambos Goumas, a 69-year-old sculptor and ceramicist poses for a photo and answers questions about his expectations of the new government, inside his workshop in Athens. He says: "I've had a hard time over the past decade with all the austerity measures foisted on us. Even though I've reached a pensionable age I continue to work, but again I could only expect a very modest pension. I hope that one day my workshop will fill up with young artists so I can teach them ceramics and sculpture ... But to do that I will need help from the government, which unfortunately doesn't look as if it will be forthcoming. Nevertheless, I am an optimist and believe Greece will progress." (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Still struggling to exit a decade of financial crisis, bailouts and harsh service cutbacks, Greece finds itself at a political turning point.

An early general election on Sunday was initiated by the country’s prime minister after his left-wing party fared badly in May’s European Union elections. Polls forecast the election returning Greece’s largest conservative party to power.

In the days before the vote, The Associated Press approached 12 Greeks of different ages and backgrounds to ask about their expectations from the next government.

Details in their answers varied, but education, health care, pensions, better policing, lower taxes and higher salaries were a common thread. They described a government in Athens that operated with less bureaucracy, more professional skill and greater gender equality.

The expectation is that elected officials with the right priorities will be able to stop the brain drain after the country’s economic problems sent hundreds of thousands of qualified young Greeks abroad in search of well-paying jobs.

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Follow Giannakouris at https://www.instagram.com/petrosgiannakouris/

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