Crucial poll today
Around 9.9 million Greek voters will choose, for the second time this year, a new parliament today.
The first poll on 6th May proved inconclusive with no party gaining enough support to form a government. After more than a week of negotiations the parties were unable to agree and the president dissolved parliament and moved a fresh election.
Voters today will be choosing from 22 parties and voting will take place between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. local time. An indication of the likely results will come around two and a half hours later.
The poll appears to be a straight fight between parties that wish to retain the European Union and IMF bailout agreement and those that would tear it up. The centre right New Democracy (ND) led by Antonis Samaras lead the way to retain the bailout deal. They came top in May and won 108 seats (the top polling party gets an extra 50 seats). In the last published opinion polls nearly two weeks ago they were just ahead of Syriza the main anti-bailout party.
The Coalition of the Radical Left or SYRIZA appears to be neck and neck with New Democracy. Syriza’s leader, Alexis Tsipras, has made it clear that the party will tear up the bailout deal and seek a renegotiation. They came second with 52 seats on 6th May. German Chancellor Angela Merkel last night intervened in the election by making it clear that there would be no renegotiation of the deal.
The election on 6th May was clearly one that was the result of voter anger with the traditional parties. That anger has largely dissipated and has been replaced with fear for the future. New Democracy leader, Antonis Samaras, has tapped into that fear, saying that tearing up the bailout deal will lead to Greece leaving the Eurozone which would be even more disastrous for ordinary Greeks.
The results of today’s election will have a profound effect upon the future of the Eurozone. A win for Syriza is likely to lead to strong market fears and a worsening financial climate, at least in the short term. Another indecisive result will also be bad with the markets likely to react negatively. A win for New Democracy might bring some short term relief but in the long term there are still many problems for Greece and the EU to overcome whatever the result today.