© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Greek Prime Minister and leader of the conservative New Democracy party, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and leader of the leftist Syriza party, Alexis Tsipras, take part in a televised debate at the headquarters of the public broadcaster ERT, in Athens, in Greece, May 10 and 2.
ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece holds a general election on Sunday that is unlikely to produce a clear winner, with a second vote expected by July if the country’s fractious political parties fail to agree on a coalition.
While opinion polls have put the conservative ruling New Democracy party in the lead, a change in the country’s electoral system means it is likely to fall short of an outright majority.
“The party in the front row needs more than 45% of the electorate to create a one-party administration, which seems quite unlikely,” said political scientist Panos Koliastasis.
New Democracy, led by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, won between 31 and 38%, followed by the left-wing opposition Syriza, trailing by 4 to 7 points.
A cost of living crisis experienced in Greece, as in other European countries, took center stage in the campaigns, with parties trying to woo voters with pledges to raise the minimum wage and create jobs.
Polling stations will open at 07:00 local time (04:00 GMT) across Greece and close 12 hours later. Just under 10 million Greeks have the right to vote.
A joint poll by six polling firms will be released at 4:00 p.m. GMT.
If no party wins, Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou will give the top three parties a mandate of three days each, in turn, to form a government.
If they all fail, Sakellaropoulou will appoint an interim government that will lead the country to new elections about a month later.