Main opposition New Democracy (ND) is shown with a lead of around seven percentage points over ruling SYRIZA in the first exit poll results to be released after ballots closed at 7 p.m. (17.00 GMT) in Greece for the European Parliament election in the country.
Ballot boxes were also set up for municipal and reigional government elections.
The surprises, at least in the initial and highly preliminary stage involving exit polls, were the possibility of two new parties exceeding the 3-percent threshold for representation in the European Parliament. The two are Elliniki Lysi (Greek or Hellenic Solution), a national conversative party with popularity in northern Greece, and former finance minister Yannis Varoufakis' Mera25, which is running in other European countries as Diem25. Both parties are forecast to pool in between 2.5 percent (leaving them out of the European Parliament, to up to 4.5 percent, meaning a stunning inaugural electoral performance.
A joint exit poll by the country's five national private television stations, with a sample of 80 percent of respondents that voted, showed:
New Democracy: between 32 and 36 percent
SYRIZA: 25-29 percent
KI.NAL (the social-democrat/socialist formation mostly comprised of once dominant PASOK): 7-9 percent
Golden Dawn (ultra-nationalist Chryssi Avgi): 5-7 percent
Communist Party: 5-7 percent
Greek Solution: 2.5-4.5 percent
Mera25 (Diem25): 2.5-4.5 percent