ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece holds a general election on Sunday that looks unlikely to produce a clear winner, with a second vote expected in July if the country’s political parties fail to agree a coalition.
While opinion polls have put the ruling conservative New Democracy party in the lead, a change in the country’s electoral system means it is unlikely to win an outright majority.
“Party ranking first needs more than 45% of the electorate to create a one-party administration, which seems pretty unlikely,” said political analyst Panos Koliastasis.
New Democracy, led by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, garners 31-38% of the polls, followed by the left-wing opposition Syriza, trailing 4-7 points.
The cost-of-living crisis in Greece, as in other European countries, has taken center stage in the campaigns, with parties trying to woo voters with promises to raise the minimum wage and create jobs.
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Polling stations will open at 07:00 local time (04:00 GMT) throughout Greece and close 12 hours later. Just under 10 million Greeks have the right to vote.
A joint exit poll conducted by six polling agencies will be published at 1600 GMT.
If no party wins outright, Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou will give the three main parties a three-day mandate each to form a government.
If they all fail, Sakellaropoulou will name an interim government that will lead the country into new elections about a month later.
(Reporting by Renee Maltezou, Writing by Michele Kambas, Editing by Clelia Oziel)
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