Published: Sun, July 07, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Greek conservatives take strong lead in exit poll

Greek conservatives take strong lead in exit poll

07 de julio de 2019, 00:40Athens, Jul 7 (Prensa Latina) Nearly ten million Greeks must go to the polls on Sunday in advanced parliamentary elections, in which the conservative New Democracy Party (ND), represented by Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is expected to win, according to a Gallup poll.

Led by Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the centre-right party is projected to defeat Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's leftist Syriza party.

"We have a clear victory for New Democracy".

The exit polls also predicted Mitsotakis' New Democracy party would win enough seats in Greece's 300-member parliament to form a government without needing to seek a coalition with another party.

The early projections have been made with 32 percent of districts reporting, and may change. Many residents flocked to the beaches or sheltered at home as temperatures exceeded 35C in places.

Two new smaller parties are vying to enter parliament for the first time, hoping to reach the three percent threshold that would allow them a seat.

MeRA25, an anti-austerity party formed by former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, could elect up to 14 lawmakers.

4 percent, followed by the Communist Party with 5.5 percent.

Authorities said a group of young people seized the ballot box and left the polling station inside a school in the capital's central Exarcheia area on Sunday.

What happened to Syriza's support?

The vote was called three months earlier than originally planned after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras suffered a stinging defeat in European and local elections in May and early June.

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He had toppled New Democracy from power by campaigning against the austerity policies that had affected Greeks for years.

But Tsipras has been widely criticised for campaigning as an anti-austerity crusader before eventually accepting a third European Union bailout.

Mr Tsipras faced a revolt from within his party as a result - but he responded by calling fresh elections, which he won.

Mr Mitsotakis has attacked his rival's record, saying that economic improvement was too slow.

He also cemented a deal with neighboring North Macedonia under which that country changed its name from plain "Macedonia".

Mitsotakis, 51, assumed the helm of New Democracy in 2016.

New Democracy has promised to lower taxes and privatise services in the country, which is still feeling the effects of the 2008 financial crisis.

"Greece is exiting ten years of crisis and the new government will have the heavy task to give a chance to the country to recover completely or to sink", she added.

But youth unemployment remains high, and New Democracy has counted many 18-24 year olds among its supporters.

Mr Mitsotakis, son of a former prime minister and brother of a former foreign minister, has pledged to make Greece more business-friendly, attract foreign investment, modernise the country's notorious bureaucracy and cut taxes.

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