ATHENS — Official projections in Greece’s election show the conservative New Democracy party as coming in first and could gather enough support to form a pro-bailout coalition to keep the country in the eurozone.
Sunday’s vote is seen as crucial for Europe and the world. Although no party will win enough seats in the 300-member parliament to form a government on its own, official projections show the two traditional parties — New Democracy and the socialist PASOK — would have enough seats to form a coalition together.
The projections showed New Democracy as winning 29.5 percent and 128 seats. The radical left Syriza party, which has vowed to repeal Greece’s international bailout conditions, is expected in second place with 27.1 percent and 72 seats. PASOK trails with 12.3 percent and 33 seats.
To form a majority government, a coalition would need at least 151 seats.
The parties vying to win have starkly different views about what to do about the €240 billion ($300 billion) in bailout loans that Greece has been given by international lenders.
Greece has been dependent on rescue loans since May 2010, after sky-high borrowing rates left it locked out of the international markets following years of profligate spending and falsifying financial data.
The spending cuts made in return have left the country mired in a fifth year of recession, with unemployment spiraling to above 22 percent and tens of thousands of businesses shutting down. – AP