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Exit polls show conservatives and leftists a breath apart

posted 17 Jun 2012, 11:16 by Mpelembe   [ updated 17 Jun 2012, 11:17 ]

Exit polls show the conservative New Democracy Party barely ahead of the leftist SYRIZA party making the vote too close to call.

ATHENS, GREECE (JUNE 17 2012)(REUTERS) - Exit polls showed on Sunday (June 17) the conservatives and the leftists almost neck and neck in the Greek election.

An exit poll by Metron Analysis for Greek Antenna Television showed New Democracy between 27.5 - 30.5 percent and SYRIZA party with a margin of 27-30 percent. The socialist Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) was in third place with a margin of 10-12 percent.

The poll was conducted jointly with another four pollsters, published as voting closed on Sunday. SYRIZA wants to tear up the terms of an EU/IMF bailout package and begin from scratch. The bailout agreement is keeping Greece afloat and if the country were to renege on the terms of the agreement it could potentially send the country crashing out of Europe's single currency. New Democracy broadly backs the bailout, as does PASOK but both want elements of the bailout package re-negotiated.

The party that comes in first secures a dividend of 50 parliamentary seats which will be crucial to its chances of forming a new government. Exit polls in an earlier May 6 election, which produced stalemate, gave a good indication of the way the vote had gone.

Greece's lenders say a new government must accept the conditions of a 130-billion-euro (164-billion USD) Greek bailout agreed in March or funds will be cut off, driving Athens into bankruptcy.

Supporters of SYRIZA said the exit poll results already showed a victory for the left, even if they do not win.

"I don't know if finally SYRIZA will be first or second, even if SYRIZA is second this means that millions of people who went on strike and demonstrated during the last two years now make a clear choice." said SYRIZA member Thanasis Kourkoulas.

New Democracy voters said they were anxious to see the final result.

"We are talking about elections where either Greece will continue in the euro and will remain in the European Union, or it will want to be out of the euro and Europe, and from what it looks like unfortunately Greeks with their votes are showing that they are undecided, they don't know themselves what they want," said Dimitris Yannopoulos of New Democracy.

Another New Democracy supporter, Nondas, said results showed there will be an uphill struggle once more to form a government.

"I believe that it will be difficult to form a government, I hope however, they will find a solution because if Greece reaches a situation where there is a lack of government it will be difficult for the Greek citizens," said Nondas.

An unexpected 1-0 victory over Russia by the Greek national soccer team at the Euro 2012 championships on Saturday provided a boost to voters' spirits. But there was little sign of enthusiasm either at the polling stations or at the party kiosks in Athens.