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Europe
Greeks to vote in general election
Surveys suggest a victory of the socialist PASOK party.
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2009 03:33 GMT
Under Greece's electoral laws, the winner needs 42.5 per cent of the vote for an absolute majority [AFP]

Greeks vote in early general election that is likely to result in a victory of the socialist PASOK party of Giorgos Papandreou, according to opinion polls conducted in the run-up to Sunday's vote.

Surveys suggest that the ruling conservative New Democracy (ND) party of Costas Karamanlis, the prime minister, will lose power after five and a half years in power.

Karamanlis called for early elections in at the beginning of September, after several scandals and amid a deteriorating economic situation.

Most Greeks welcomed Karamanlis' call for early elections last  month, hoping that a new administration will halt the economy's  slide.

Probable scenarios

It is not clear however whether the Socialists would win an absolute majority in 300-seat parliament and end up governing alone.

Under Greece's electoral laws, the winner needs 42.5 per cent of the vote for an absolute majority. If Papandreou fails another election will be needed.

Polling stations were set to open at 04:00 GMT on Sunday to allow around 9.8 million voters to cast their ballots.

The first exit polls are expected immediately after voting stations close at 1600 GMT.

Greece's conservatives won 41.8 per cent of the vote and 152 seats in parliamentary elections in September 2007.

PASOK garnered 38.1 per cent of the vote and 102 seats.

Parties expected to pass the three per cent hurdle to enter parliament, include the Communist Pary of Greece KKE, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and the ultra-conservative People's Orthodox Alarm (LAOS).

Both Kramanlis and Papandreou have pledge to pull Greece out of economic crisis in the coming years and to root out corruption.

Source:
Agencies
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