Greece votes in 1st post-bailout parliamentary elections

ATHENS, July 6, 2019 (Xinhua) -- People applaud at the main pre-electoral rally of the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece on July 5, 2019. In the final stretch to Sunday's national elections, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras asked Greek voters on Friday evening to give him and his Radical Left SYRIZA party a new chance to build a better Greece -- this time without the restraints of the bailout programs.

Athen,  Voters across Greece voted on Sunday in the first parliamentary elections since the 2008 global financial crisis that triggered financial bailouts leading the Greek economy to shrink by 28 per cent and increasing unemployment.

Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m. About 9.9 million citizens of 17 years and above are eligible to vote, reports Xinhua news agency.

Exit polls are expected to be released shortly afterwards, as the first official estimates will arrive at around 9 p.m., and the final results on Monday, according to the Interior Ministry.

A total of 20 parties are running the campaign, which demands a 3 per cent threshold to enter the 300-member parliament, according to the Greek electoral law.

Most recent opinion surveys indicated that Greece’s main opposition conservative New Democracy (ND) party would win with a margin of 8-15 percentage points over the radical left SYRIZA party led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and have an outright majority in the parliament.

Tsipras, who came to power in 2015, has promised more investment and recently boosted pensions. His own investment policies would also have to be renegotiated with creditors as the country remains under eurozone supervision.

Polls also showed that the centre-left Movement of Change would rank third, likely followed by the Communist Party of Greece.

The economy is once again the main issue for consideration when voters cast their ballots, according to polls.