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Greeks vote in 1st parliamentary election since bailout end

/ 12:40 PM July 07, 2019

ATHENS, Greece – Greeks have begun voting in the first parliamentary election since their country emerged from three successive international bailouts.

FILE – In this July 4, 2019, file photo, Greek opposition New Democracy conservative party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaks during his main election campaign rally in Athens. Greece holds a general election Sunday, called three months early by left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras after he suffered a stinging defeat in European Parliament elections in May to conservative rivals who appear to be strengthening their position according to recent opinion polls. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

The vote is held three months earlier than originally planned after left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras saw his support erode during European elections.

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Opinion polls suggest Greeks are set to defy the recent European trend of increasing support for populist parties, with conservative opposition party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis a clear favorite to win.

Sunday’s vote comes as the country gradually emerges from a brutal nearly decade-long financial crisis that saw unemployment and poverty levels skyrocket, and Greece’s economy slashed by a quarter.

Greece was dependent for survival until last summer on international bailouts, and had to impose deep reforms, including massive spending cuts and tax hikes, to qualify for the rescue loans. /gsg

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