With polls pointing to an upset for the ruling party, Greeks Sunday have started to vote in the country's snap general elections to choose a new government and parliament.
The opposition conservative right New Democracy is ahead of the ruling Syriza Party by at least 8%, according to the latest opinion poll by Pulse for Skai TV, with the party likely to be able to form a government single-handedly.
Current Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had promised to form an anti-bailout government, but disappointed many of his supporters by imposing more austerity measures and extra taxes, as well as by signing onto a name-change agreement with Greece’s neighbor North Macedonia.
Tsipras, a leftist, called for a vote four months early after suffering a devastating defeat this May at the hands of New Democracy in European and municipal elections.
His left-wing party stormed to power in 2015 after Greece buckled under painful economic reforms and austerity measures, forcing it to sign for more than €260 billion in rescue funds from the eurozone partners and the IMF in order to avoid bankruptcy.
Greece has been the recipient of three bailout deals since 2010.
Polls opened at 7.00 a.m. and will close at 7.00 p.m. local time (1700GMT). Preliminary poll results are expected to start coming around 9.30 p.m. local time.
According to the Interior Ministry, Greece has some 9.9 million registered voters, including over 519,000 age 17 to 21.
May’s European elections in Greece saw a 58% turnout.
A total of 20 parties are contesting in Sunday's elections.
By Magda Panoutsopoulou in Athens