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Greece holding close elections with historically low voter turnout

By Andrew V. Pestano
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Greece holding close elections with historically low voter turnout
Greece is holding general elections on Sunday -- it's fifth in six years. The snap elections were called in August after the left-wing Syriza party lost its parliamentary majority. File Photo by Yuksel Pecenek/UPI | License Photo

ATHENS, Greece, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Greece is holding general elections on Sunday where voter turnout is low and polls indicate a close race between the incumbent Syriza party and New Democracy.

The election was called after the left-wing Syriza party lost its parliamentary majority in August. This is the third time Greeks are voting in national polls this year and the fifth election in six years.

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Greece is attempting to overcome a financial crisis that crippled the country economically and politically. Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras became prime minister in January by running a campaign against tough austerity measures for bailout funds set by international creditors, which he later accepted.

Tsipras's acceptance of creditors' demands led to his popularity plummeting. Earlier, he called for a referendum asking Greeks whether the government should accept the austerity measures, which Greeks overwhelmingly voted against.

Despite his anti-austerity campaign and the results of the referendum, Syriza accepted austerity measures to unlock bailout funds and to avoid potential removal from the Eurozone economic bloc.

No clear winner is anticipated in Sunday's election, so a coalition government will likely be necessary. Voter turnout could be as low as 50 percent. There are about 10 million Greeks registered to vote.

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The low turnout is also making it difficult for accurate exit polls to be conducted.

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