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Greece today holds National elections September 16, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Politics.
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greek_polls.jpg  September 16, Greece holds early Parliamentary elections. It came to that point after Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis wanted to regain the trust of the people to help him continue the important reforms, mostly in the economy sector.

The statistics reveals that Greece’s early Parliamentary elections are more frequent than the regular ones. The country had regular elections in March 2004 when the now oppositional PASOK party lost after 11 years of ruling. A total of 9,824,223 constituents have the right to vote. The number of citizens who will vote for the first time is 490,015.

Where will Greeece’s President and political leaders vote on Sunday > By today Greece’s Head of State and all political leaders would have exercised their right to vote. President Karolos Papoulias will vote at 1.00 pm in Yianina. In the morning, PM Kostas Karamanlis will vote in Thessaloniki, leader of Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) will also vote in Thessaloniki. Leader of Greek communist party Aleka Papariga will vote at 9.00 am in Athens, leader of the coalition and the leftist and progressive forces Alekos Alavanos will vote in Crete.

Conservatives ahead in Greece > Greece’s governing conservatives appear headed for election victory, exit polls show, despite widespread anger over devastating forest fires that killed more than 65 people last month.

An exit poll for Greece’s state TV projected the governing New Democracy party ahead with 42.2% of the vote, and the opposition socialist PASOK party in second place with 38.5%.

The poll, conducted by the RASS-MARC polling agency for the state television channel NET, said its margin of error was plus or minus one percentage point.


Polling booths open in Greece September 16, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Politics.
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Polling stations have opened in Greece with nearly ten million Greeks due to vote for a new government in general elections.

The elections come after a national fire tragedy which cast a pall on the entire campaign. After one of the briefest electoral races in decades, pollsters expected a neck-and-neck run between the ruling conservative New Democracy (ND) Party and the opposition Pasok socialists.

Although the ND Party, led by Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, carried a slim lead into the decider, an unusually high number of undecided voters and general alienation over the fires that killed over 60 people makes this election impossible to call.

Mr Karamanlis, 51, seeks a second four-year term on the strength of economic reforms that cut the deficit and unemployment and kept the economy growing at around 4 per cent of GDP per year.

The socialists, led by 55-year-old George Papandreou, former foreign minister until 2004, have accused the Prime Minister of failing to protect Greece from the fires and of neglecting promises to combat corruption.

How the Greek general election works > A look at how Greek voters choose their government and members of parliament in general elections Sunday >

VOTERS > 9.8 million eligible voters, casting ballots at 20,509 polling stations in 56 electoral districts. Voting age is 18. Voting is compulsory but penalties for unjustified abstention have been relaxed and are generally not enforced.

WHEN > Polls open Sunday at 7 a.m. (0400GMT) and close at 7 p.m. (1600GMT) in a single round of voting.

CANDIDATES > A total of 3,941 candidates are running for the 300 seats in Greece’s unicameral parliament. One hundred and fifty-one seats are required from a single party or coalition to form a government, headed by the prime minister, who holds the country’s main executive powers. Greece’s president holds a largely ceremonial post and is elected by parliament in a separate process every five years.

VOTING RULES > Under a new electoral law, 260 seats are allocated by proportional representation based on votes counted nationwide. The remaining 40 are automatically awarded to the party that wins the most votes. Candidates are elected by preferential ballot, but voters cannot chose candidates from different parties. Parties must receive at least 3 percent of the nationwide vote to be represented in parliament.

TERMS > Parliament members serve four-year terms, but governing parties can call elections early.

PARTIES > Twenty-one parties are fielding candidates. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis’ conservative New Democracy is leading opinion polls, followed by George Papandreou’s Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement, or PASOK, the Greek Communist Party, or KKE, and the Left Coalition, or SYRIZA. The far-right Popular Orthodox Rally, or LAOS, is also likely to be represented in parliament for the first time.

ISSUES > The government is defending its record on how it handled massive wildfires in southern Greece that killed more than 65 people last month. Both main parties staunchly favor a more cohesive European Union and have few foreign policy differences. New Democracy has promised to expand privatization and cut back labor protection rules, including fewer permanent jobs for civil servants. The Socialists say their labor reforms will include greater job guarantees and will be introduced together with a revised income tax system.

RESULTS > Seven national television channels have commissioned separate exit polls and will all release first results when voting ends at 1600GMT. Official results are expected to start at 1800GMT, with a first nationwide sample of returns at 2000GMT.