Voting begins in crucial Greek general election

POLLING stations opened in Greece on Sunday for a snap general election that could bring the anti-austerity Syriza party to power and lead to a re-negotiation of the country’s international bailout.

Some 9.8 million Greeks are eligible to vote. Polling stations close at 1700 GMT, followed immediately by the results of exit polls.

Syriza, a radical left-wing party led by 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, have a lead of at least four points over the incumbent conservative New Democracy party of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, according to opinion polls.

Tsipras wants to renegotiate Greece’s massive 318 billion euro ($356 billion) debt and end the wage cuts and public spending reductions linked to its bailout by the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

The possibility of a Syriza victory has sparked fears that Greece could default on its debt repayments and quit the group of 19 countries using the single European currency in a so-called “Grexit”.

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