Central banker says Greek effort in 'last mile'

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A man sweeps the pavement in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. Greece expects to post a budget surplus for 2013 once interest payments on existing debt are stripped out, according to the Ministry of Finance, however, if interest payments are included, then the country is still having to borrow money to make ends meet. (AP Photo/Nikolas Giakoumidis)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's central bank governor is urging the country's politicians to avoid heated confrontation ahead of European Parliament and local government elections in May, urging them to back a financial recovery effort through its "last mile."

George Provopoulos said the country was on course to exit a six-year recession this year after achieving a primary budget surplus — balanced expenses before interest payments — for the first time since 2002. He made the remarks to a parliamentary finance committee Thursday.

Opposition parties are hoping to topple the conservative-led coalition government in the twin May elections, arguing that bailout measures have caused a social crisis and failed to fix the country's debt problem.