European leaders have said they will halt the aid if promises given in return for the bailout are not kept. If so, Greece could go bankrupt as early as next month. Analysts say that this will almost certainly herald a Greek return to its drachma national currency.
Polls show the leftist SYRIZA party, which rejects the bailout and came second on May 6, is now on course to win a new election, a result that would give it an automatic bonus of 50 seats in the 300-seat parliament.
The party’s charismatic 37-year-old leader Alexis Tsipras has soared in popularity by promising Greeks a future in the euro zone without the yoke of austerity – horrifying European leaders who say the country cannot have its cake and eat it too.
While most Greeks oppose the bailout terms, they overwhelmingly back the euro. Nearly 80 percent want a new government to do all that is needed to keep Greece in the euro, a recent poll showed.
European leaders say Athens can remain in the euro only if it sticks to the promises to clean up its finances that it made to secure the bailout. Opponents say those harsh terms are making the situation worse by strangling the economy, which latest data show shrank over 6 percent year-on-year in the first quarter.
“The country is finished,” said Panos Leonidas, 57, a travel agency employee. “From now on, you can only live here if you’re an animal.”