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Greek central bank chief says need political consensus to end debt crisis

[ATHENS] Greece's central bank chief called on the country's party leaders on Sunday to maintain their political consensus to help pull Athens itself out of its financial crisis once and for all.

His comments came a day after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras failed to secure the backing of Greek opposition parties on tough pension reforms the country has promised to implement by December under its latest international bailout.

The Greek people are weary after six years of punishing austerity, and legislating in painful pension reforms will be the next big test of Tsipras's coalition government, which saw its majority shrink to just three seats this month. "There has been a high degree of consensus when the (bailout) deal was voted in by a big parliamentary majority last July," Greek central bank governor Yannis Stournaras told Mega TV in a statement.

"It (the consensus) should be safeguarded to secure political stability, support a definite exit from the crisis and pave the way towards growth," he said.

Greece and its international lenders agreed this week on a new set of reforms the country must approve in December to qualify for an additional 1 billion euros in aid.

Pension reforms are not part of this list but remain a key issue in order to complete the first review of progress under the bailout programme and open the way for negotiations on debt relief.