ATHENS — As the prospect of Greece leaving the euro turns from a taboo to a real possibility, the race is on for fallout calculations ahead of a June 17 general election critical for the debt-laden nation's future.
World leaders from US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and newly-elected French President Francois Hollande have all highlighted the stark choice facing Greeks: to complete austerity reforms or ditch the euro.
But in Greece itself, the key debate is how to redraft the country's bailout deal with the EU and the IMF, whose austerity provisions are deemed to have killed off the economy.
The conservative New Democracy party, seen to have a fighting chance of winning the vote -- albeit without a clear majority -- have promised to "renegotiate" the so-called memorandum which has propped up Greece with billions of euros (dollars), in return for promised structural reforms and deficit cuts.
The other main contenders, the leftist Syriza party, have spooked Athens' European peers by threatening to abolish the bailout deal altogether.
Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras also pledges to halt a spate of measures tied to the rescue, including state privatisations and labour cost cuts.
A growing lineup of senior European officials have warned that Greece's remaining loan payments -- vital to the continued payment of state salaries and pensions -- could be frozen if this happens.
Greece needs 7.6 billion euros ($9.5 billion) by end-July to cover maturing debt but EU-IMF aid payments have been suspended pending the formation of a new government, and the state's tax takings are short of target.
Estimates on the cost of a Greek exit from the euro -- termed "Grexit" -- range from 150 to 350 billion euros ($188 to $439 billion) according to economists at Barclays Bank, DeKaBank and UBS.
And Germany's Deutsche Bank has warned that loan payments to Greece could stop as early as late June or early July, setting up a risk-fraught summer.
A Deutsche Bank study obtained by AFP says there is no "zero risk" of a Greek euro exit, only differing hypotheses based on Sunday's election result.
A weak pro-bailout coalition government, seen as one of the possible scenarios, would constitute a "moderate" risk, the study says.
Change that to a Syriza-led majority, or a political stalemate, and the risk becomes "high".
Syriza was tipped as a possible winner in a number of opinion polls published last week, the last before the vote.
And an inconclusive vote is not out of the question either.
It happened on May 6, when an earlier general election gave a narrow victory to New Democracy, followed by ten days of fruitless talks on forming a cabinet.
"A near-term Greece euro exit can still be avoided but the risk has risen sharply since the May 6 election," Deutsche Bank warns.
"Any one of a number of 'sparks' could precipitate a Greece euro exit event," it said in the study.
Should Greece run out of money, parliament would have to convene to enact laws on new currency, the bank said.
Free capital movement would be curtailed to prevent a bank run and IOU's could be issued to meet state obligations such as civil servant salaries and pensions.
Deutsche Bank's chief economist Thomas Mayer has recently spoken about such a scenario involving a hybrid currency, or 'Geuro', which would entail offering IOUs to creditors, without formally leaving the euro.
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