First general election in Greece on Sunday, nearly 4 years after 2015 'annus horribilis'

Sunday, 07 July 2019 12:48
UPD:12:49
REUTERS/ALKIS KONSTANTINIDIS

People vote for the general elections at a polling station in Athens, Greece July 7, 2019. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

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The leaders of the two parties expected to vie for first place in Sunday's general election in Greece, incumbent PM Alexis Tsipras and rival Kyriakos Mitsotakis, cast their ballots in the morning at separate election precincts in the greater Athens area.

On his part, Tsipras, the prime minister since January 2015 and head of the leftist SYRIZA party, used the political cliché of a "crucial election" at hand, while adding that "we're optimistically giving battle so that the country's course forward is not interrupted."

Tsipras and his leftists are shown as significantly trailing Mitsotakis and his center-right New Democracy (ND) party, as least in all mainstream opinion polls up until the last day that such results were published.

Tsipras voted in the hilly inner-city district of Kypseli, near his residence, while Mitsotakis voted in the west Athens working-class municipality of Peristeri.

"Elections are democracy's great celebration. I stand before the popular verdict with respect," he said before a throng of supporters and waiting television cameras.

While heading into the election precinct, Mitsotakis was "greeted" with a banner and heckling by a small group of demonstrators affiliated with a far-left out-of-parliament grouping, although tension was quickly defused.

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