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Samaras Says Greece Like Post-World War I Weimar Republic

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Oct. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Antonis Samaras compared Greeks’ struggle with economic hardship and political turmoil with the conditions that led to the collapse of the Weimar Republic in post-World War I Germany and ushered in the Nazi era.

“Greek democracy stands before what is perhaps its greatest challenge,” Samaras said in an interview with German newspaper Handelsblatt published today, saying that Greeks’ living standards have plunged by more than a third in five years. The cohesion of Greek society is “endangered by rising unemployment, just as it was toward the end of the Weimar Republic in Germany.”

Just as the 1919-1933 Weimar years were marked by running battles between Communists and fascists, society at large in Greece today is threatened by extreme left-wing populists and “something that’s new to this country: the rise of an extreme right, you could almost say fascist, neo-Nazi party,” he said.

Samaras, who managed to form a governing coalition with two rival parties after winning the country’s second set of elections this year, is trying to convince Greece’s international creditors that his government has done enough to secure its next bailout payment.

If his government were to fall, “chaos awaits,” he said, according to Handelsblatt. “The people know this government is Greece’s last chance.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Crawford in Berlin at acrawford6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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