New Democracy had 27.5 percent to 30.5 percent of the vote, according to the exit poll broadcast on state-run NET TV. Syriza had 27 percent to 30 percent. Socialist Pasok got between 10 percent and 12 percent. The first official estimate is due around 9:30 p.m.
The initial figures were based on 75 percent of a sample of 10,000 voters, according to Alco, one of the pollsters that collated the data. An estimate based on the full sample will be released at around 8:15 p.m. Greek time, Alco’s Costas Panagopoulos said on NET.
While 21 parties were on the ballot, the main contest was Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras, who has promised to renege on budget cuts demanded by creditors in exchange for a pair of bailouts, against New Democracy’s Antonis Samaras, who says his challenger is risking an exit from the currency union.
The vote forced Greeks, in a fifth year of recession, to accept open-ended austerity to stay in the euro or reject the bailout conditions and risk the turmoil of exiting the 17-nation currency. Group of 20 leaders begin their annual gathering in Los Cabos, Mexico, tomorrow, with France’s Francois Hollande and Germany’s Angela Merkel opting not to leave for the event until after the outcome in Greece is known.
European finance ministers plan a conference call to discuss the outcome, with a statement likely to be issued around 10 p.m. Brussels time, a European official said under condition of anonymity.