Greece Early Vote Kicks Off

World » SOUTHEAST EUROPE | September 20, 2015, Sunday // 10:36
Bulgaria: Greece Early Vote Kicks Off Former PM Alexis Tsipras is hoping to get another term in office after his first one lasted less than seven months. EPA/BGNES

Voting is now underway in Greece in a snap poll called over tensions within the formerly ruling SYRIZA party of Alexis Tsipras.

Neither leftist SYRIZA nor conservative New Democracy is expected to secure a majority in Parliament, with polls suggesting the two parties are running neck-and-neck.

Tsipras's government stepped down in August amid uncertainty over the impact of a new bailout deal with international lenders and the need of yet another round of economic reforms in a country hit by a deep crisis over the past seven years.

SYRIZA won the January early elections on an anti-austerity ticket, but sealed in the summer a deal that will unlock EUR 86 B in exchange of reform.

There are nearly 9.84 million eligible voters to cast a ballot and elect 300 lawmakers.

Some surveys suggest a coalition is likely between SYRIZA, centrist To Potami and socialist PASOK.

Vangelis Meimarakis, the leader of New Democracy, is not ruling out the prospect of a "grand coalition" with SYRIZA or possibly other parties if there is no outright winner, while Tsipras has repeatedly dismissed the option.

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Tags: Alexis Tsipras, Tsipras, greece, Syriza, New Democracy, PASOK, To Potami, austerity
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