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Greek election: Polls open as eurozone’s future hangs in balance

The first results will emerge at 5pm tonight, with EU leaders and financial markets watching nervously.

A man looks at the front pages of newspapers in Thessaloniki
A man looks at the front pages of newspapers in Thessaloniki
Image: Dimitri Messinis/AP/Press Association Images

MILLIONS OF GREEK voters will cast their ballots today after polls opened in an election which could prove crucial to the future of the eurozone.

The vote – the country’s second general election in six weeks – has been cast as effectively a referendum on Greece’s membership of the single currency.

“The main thing we will decide on is the dilemma, euro or drachma,” said Antonis Samaras, the leader of conservative party New Democracy.

Left-wing party Syriza, currently neck-and-neck in polling with New Democracy, has pledged to tear up the EU bailout deal and consequent austerity measures if it is elected.

It has told voters that EU leaders will not eject Greece from the euro, as that would risk sparking a chain reaction and Europe-wide crisis.

“There is no dilemma about the euro. It is the last, desperate trick by Mr Samaras,” Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras said on Friday.

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But leaders of the major EU powers have repeatedly said that the country’s membership of the euro is under threat if it does not adhere to the bailout plan.

Polling stations will close at 7pm tonight Greek time – 5pm Irish time – when the first exit polls will be released, potentially indicating which party has secured a majority.

- Additional reporting from AP

Read: Everything you need to know about today’s crucial election in Greece>

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Michael Freeman

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