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Greece’s ruling conservatives lead in polls, but run-off likely – POLITICO

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ATHENS — Greece’s ruling conservative party was in the lead in Sunday’s election, early polls showed, but a national runoff is the likeliest scenario.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ New Democracy Party held a significant lead over its main rival, the left-wing Syriza party, according to the first exit polls released jointly by six pollsters after the polls closed. Up to seven parties were likely to cross the 3% threshold and enter parliament, according to projections.

However, New Democracy did not garner enough votes – 45% – to win an outright majority, as these elections are being held under a new system of proportional representation.

Even if a coalition government would be possible, Mitsotakis has made no secret that he would prefer a majority government and would hold out until the second round of voting, when he is on the way to obtaining an absolute majority thanks to a system that grants the winning party up to 50 bonus seats in parliament.

This means that the Greeks will probably go to the polls again in early July.

Turnout was 48.8% as of 4:30 p.m., the Home Office reported.

Mitsotakis has emerged seemingly unscathed from the last four years of his premiership, despite being dogged by a spy scandal, runaway inflation and growing concerns over the rule of law.

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