IMF 'saddened' by Greek pensioner suicide
Washington: The International Monetary Fund on Thursday said it was "deeply saddened" by the dramatic suicide of Greek retiree who reportedly blamed the government's austerity measures.
The 77-year-old man, a retired pharmacist, shot himself dead yesterday in front of the Greek parliament in Athens, touching off protests against the government's economic policies under an IMF-European Union bailout package.
"What I'd like to say is we're deeply saddened to learn of any death in these circumstances, and just to express our sympathies," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said at a regularly scheduled news briefing.
Rice provided no other comment on the suicide that has shaken Greece.
The suicide took place in Syntagma Square, which for two years has been the main rallying point for protests against austerity measures designed to haul Greece from its fiscal crisis.
According to media reports, the pensioner left a suicide note saying government austerity cuts had "wiped out" his pension and left him in poverty.
Asked whether Greek legislative elections in May could spell uncertainty for the bailout program, the IMF spokesman said it was an opportunity for voters to throw their weight behind reforms.
"This type of uncertainty is always present when countries hold elections," Rice said. "The elections are an important opportunity to gain a mandate." (AFP)