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21:25 GMT +3 hours19 December 2014
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Greeks Go to Polls to Vote in Crucial Parliamentary Election

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Greeks are going to the polls on Sunday to vote in a crucial parliamentary election expected to decide the country’s future in the euro zone.

Greeks are going to the polls on Sunday to vote in a crucial parliamentary election expected to decide the country’s future in the euro zone.

Greece is holding the first general election since the debt crisis hit the country in late 2009 and prompted the Greek authorities to implement deeply unpopular austerity measures in exchange for bailout funds from the European Union and the International Monetary Funds to stave off a sovereign default.

Opinion polls suggest that there are no clear winners in the parliamentary election as voters, hit by record unemployment levels and drastic wage cuts, may elect an unprecedented number of small parties to the Greek parliament that are opposed to the harsh austerity measures that the country’s two leading parties, New Democracy and the Socialist PASOK, have undertaken to pursue in exchange for the EU/IMF bailouts.

Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. local time and will close at 7 p.m. A total of 9.9 million Greeks eligible to vote will have to choose among 32 political parties included in ballot papers.