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Greece: Polls point to close election result

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Greece: Polls point to close election result


The two main parties contesting the general election in Greece have been holding their final rallies before the ballot boxes open on Sunday. The centrist Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has called the vote six months early, as many voters complain about low pensions and wages, and unemployment which is above the eurozone average. But the governing New Democracy Party, and the main opposition socialist PASOK Party of George Papandreou are not proving as popular with voters as they used to be, according to surveys.

This summer’s forest fires elicited an emotional backlash from many people, who blamed the government for being disorganised, and the opposition for failing to introduce the necessary measures when they were in power. Research shows that it is the smaller parties that could benefit, raising the possibility that the already closely-contested race could end up without an overall winner.

That could prove a worry for Karamanlis and Papandreou, whose family dynasties have, between them, dominated Greek politics since 1974. A split vote could mean a coalition, or even a re-run of the election.

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