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Greeks head to polls, no outright winner seen

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Greece's general elections on Sunday (21 May) are unlikely to produce a winner. A second vote is expected in July if the parties of the country cannot agree to a government coalition.

Although opinion polls show the conservative New Democracy Party in the lead, changes to the country's electoral system mean it will likely fall short of a majority.

The polling stations will open at 0700 local (0400 GMT), and close at 1600 GMT. Only a little under 10 million Greeks are eligible to vote. Six polling agencies are releasing an exit poll at 1900 GMT.

New Democracy led by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is polling at between 31 and 38 percent, while Syriza of the opposition, which trails by 4 to 7 points, is in third place. A party needs to have more than 45 percent of the vote in order to win.

The cost of living is at the forefront of the campaign. Parties are trying to win voters over with promises to raise the minimum wage and to create jobs. The spiraling prices have had a profound effect on Greeks whose living standards plummeted during a decade long debt crisis.

A vote that is not conclusive will lead to days of discussions among the political parties in order to find a common ground for cohabitation in government.

In an editorial on the front page of the daily Proto Thema, the paper said: "Today's results are either a referendum for political stability or the preamble to a government without a direction."

If no party wins outright, Greek president Katerina Sakalaropoulou gives the top three parties each a 3-day mandate to form an administrative body.

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Sakellaropoulou, if all of them fail, will appoint an interim government to lead the country into new elections about a month after.

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