Greece's outgoing prime minister Lucas Papademos casts his ballot at a polling station in Athens, May 6 2012.
Greece’s two major parties, centre-right New Democracy and socialists Pasok, were dealt out the punishment expected in the country’s May 6 2012 parliamentary elections, going by exit polls reported by local and international media.
New Democracy had the largest share, at an estimated 22 per cent with more than 10 per cent of the votes counted, but this is even less than the party got when it was defeated in Greece’s previous parliamentary election in 2009.
Pasok was dealt the heaviest blow, getting an estimated 14 to 17 per cent, a major reverse for the party that won the 2009 elections but then lost sole control of government with the downfall of George Papandreou and the formation of the interim coalition government that has had to impose deeply unpopular austerity measures.
Again, as predicted, parties from outside Greece’s traditional two-party dominance made significant gains.
Reports from Athens said that more than 10 parties opposed to the austerity measures, including communists KKE that want Greece to quit the euro zone, appeared to have made gains.
Radical leftist coalition Syriza was running third, at somewhere between 15 and 17 per cent, while Golden Dawn, a far-right party that has defined itself by its anti-immigration platform, was poised to get up to eight per cent of the vote.
The Voice of America said that many Greeks blame the two major parties, New Democracy and Pasok, for leading the countries into its current bind through mismanagement.
In just two years, Greece has received two huge international bailouts to keep from defaulting on its financial obligations. But in order to secure the aid from the European Union and International Monetary Fund, the government had to bow to demands to impose sharp spending cuts and tax increases, which have generated widespread protests, VOA said.
Any political instability may prompt fresh questions over Greece’s place in the euro zone, the BBC said. . If any new Greek government deviated from its fiscal commitments the country would have to "bear the consequences," German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble said, quoted by the BBC.
Talks on a governing coalition were expected to start rapidly, with Lucas Papademos – the economist, former central banker and former vice-president of the European Central Bank who became interim prime minister in November 2011 – saying in response to a journalist’s question that he expected that a new government could be formed in the coming week.
"We must all make a decision not only on who will govern but also with regards to the path the nation will take in the next decades," Papademos said.
An agreement reached with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will allow voters with dual citizenship in Kosovo to vote in the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in Serbia.
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