Europe

Greek residents on political and economic crisis

Greece appears to be heading for fresh elections, after coalition talks again broke up without success. President Papoulias will attempt to form an interim government but it now looks as if a second parliamentary election will be held in June. Here, Greeks share their views on the political and economic future of their country.

George Tsampas, 35, hotel owner, Chania, Greece

Image caption Mr Tsampas says it is time for Greece to exit the euro

I am pro-European and used to support the euro, but not anymore.

The euro is good only if all the eurozone economies have similar economic stability, productivity and industries. Greece lacks all these.

I would prefer to exit the euro and suffer for five or 10 years than to be enslaved by the IMF and banks and have to repay loans with interest for the next 20 or 30 years.

By exiting the euro we can at least become more competitive which might help boost the economy. Visitors to Greece could see prices drop by half if the drachma is re-introduced.

I will vote for [left-wing bloc] Syriza if there are new elections. This is despite the fact that my family owns a hotel business and we tend to vote on the right. I see them as the least of all evils. I believe many of my friends will also vote for the party for similar reasons.

Nevertheless, we can never predict what will happen in politics and it is still possible that Syriza might end up following the policies of previous governments. Further, I don't think other European countries will allow Greece to leave the euro.

Helleni Skiada, 49, marketing project manager, Athens Greece

Image caption Helleni Skiada thinks Greece should stay in the euro

I feel very angry about the austerity measures we face. I have suffered cuts to my salary, my medical and pension schemes - everything.

But I don't think Greece should reject austerity completely and exit the common currency as it would cause more problems than it would solve.

If we left the euro our currency would depreciate, increasing the cost of imports and therefore the cost of living. We live by consuming imports and they will become more expensive.

People voted for the anti-bailout parties like Syriza as a rejection of the main two parties, a protest vote rather than a positive vote. The Greek people don't really understand how the crisis situation developed. They are scared of the country's possible bankruptcy but also they know they can't afford continuing cuts.

Ideally, I would like to government to employ technocrats to help re-negotiate the Greek rescue package with the EU and the IMF. Right now the bailout money just goes to pay off our creditors. Some of the money should be used to help the Greek economy grow.

If there are new elections I will vote for one of the two main parties that have supported the austerity programmes. The anti-bailout parties don't seem to have any clear programme - it's clear what they are against but not what they are for.

Nikos Gkiatas, 33, business consultant, Thessaloniki, Greece

Image caption Mr Gkiatas wants to see a big change in government policy

The economic situation is very difficult for the middle class. We don't have any hope for future development, everything has become stagnated.

I don't believe there can be any hope in the two main parties that used to run Greece. As a young person, I want a change - not just of government but of policies too.

If there are new elections I will vote for the Syriza - they are young and fresh and offer a change of course.

We cannot be sure that changes in the country will lead to something better. But we simply cannot carry on in the same way with years more of austerity. We feel the bailout deal is just punishing Greece rather than correcting the situation.

I am a partner in a small business and things are very bad for us at the moment. There is just no development in the economy. But I have of lots of friends of my age working in different sectors of economy - and they all feel that there is no progress.

I don't want to leave the euro. But if the only choice is between continued austerity and leaving the euro, than I will accept the latter course.

Politicians have created fear in society by saying we must accept austerity measures or we will be forced out of the currency.

Lorraine Arnold, 45, bar owner, Moraitika, Corfu

Image caption Ms Arnold says people cannot take further cuts and tax rises

I am suspicious of the hard-left parties that could win any new elections. But I do think Greece should leave the euro.

I, very foolishly, started a new bar business here in 2010. I had not researched the crisis here in Greece before embarking on this project.

I have lived in this area at various times over a 22-year period. I assumed things would be as they always were. I was wrong. With dwindling numbers of tourists and increased taxes things have become very difficult.

The only way forward for this country is to get out of the euro and try to attract tourism back.

Things may be difficult for a couple of years, but at least there would be light at the end of the tunnel. At the moment, there is no hope here.

I don't think people can take any more cuts and taxes. I've had to find an extra 1,600 euros in taxes alone this year - and that doesn't include increases in sales taxes and tariffs on alcohol. And because incomes have gone down and costs have gone up nobody has got any money to spend. You don't have to be an economist to see that's bad for the economy.

It's quite clear that people here are not happy with the austerity measures. If there are new elections, they will vote for the anti-austerity hard-left parties just to prove a point.

Interviews by Nathan Williams, BBC News