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Greek premier calls snap elections for Sept. 16

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ATHENS, August 17 (RIA Novosti) - Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis called early elections for September 16, six months before his government's term expires, citing a need for a new mandate to kick-start reforms.

The announcement was made in a televised address after President Karolos Papoulias approved the prime minister's request for the dissolution of parliament.

"I am calling elections, to enable changes and reforms to continue," the prime minister said.

He said his ruling conservative New Democracy party, which has served three and a half years of its four-year term, needed a fresh mandate with a strong parliamentary majority to push through economic, social and constitutional reforms.

The party will compete with the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), which is currently less than two percentage points behind Karamanlis's party in opinion polls.

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