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Leaders' debate heats up Greek election campaign

Former Prime Minister and leader of the Syriza party Alexis Tsipras (R) and leader of the conservative New Democracy party Vangelis Meimarakis (L) before a debate in Athens on September 9, 2015Greece’s former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras acknowledged Wednesday that his government had not delivered on all its promises but vowed to keep fighting austerity as he faced off against challengers in a televised election debate. Tsipras, who is locked in a neck-and-neck race with his conservative rival Vangelis Meimarakis of the New Democracy Party, said he had placed the “interests of the Greek people” above all else when he agreed an unpopular third bailout deal with international creditors in July. The 86-billion-euro rescue ($96 billion) package prevented a Greek exit from the eurozone but demands tough reforms in return for the cash, sparking a rebellion within Tsipras’s leftist Syriza party, which came to power in January on an anti-austerity platform.

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