Sunday, May 6, 2012

Greeks head to polls in parliamentary elections

People check ballot lists at a polling station on the eve of the Greek general elections, Athens, May 5, 2012.

Source: Press TV

Voting has kicked off in Greece's parliamentary elections, the most critical general voting in decades in the debt-laden country amid wide uncertainty over the outcome.

Voting stations opened at 7:00 a.m. (0400 GMT) Sunday for the general elections.

The socialist Pasok and conservative New Democracy parties, the dominant political forces for the past four decades, have been in coalition since last November.

Both, blamed for the country's economic crisis, are expected to suffer due to the austerity measures imposed by the government in exchange for international bailout funds.

According to the last polls published two weeks ago, conservative New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras was expected to come in first while not expected to get more than 25 percent of the votes.

PASOK won the 2009 elections with more than 43 percent but is projected to garner only between 14-19 percent this time.

The two mainstream parties are being held responsible for the record unemployment, at

almost 22 percent, bankruptcies and a drawn-out recession.

A range of smaller parties, from the Communists to the far-right Golden Dawn party, look set to benefit. However, no single party is expected to gain a majority.

Voting is due to end at 7:00 p.m., with the first exit polls expected soon after.

Greeks have been protesting against the state’s austerity cuts since early 2011, when the government first implemented the measures.

Greece has the highest debt burden in proportion to the size of its economy in the 17-nation eurozone.

Despite austerity cuts and the bailout funds, the country has been in recession since 2009

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