Greek main opposition Radical Left SYRIZA party leads EP elections: exit poll

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Greece's main opposition Radical Left SYRIZA party leads the elections for the European parliament, garnering 26-30 percent of votes over 23-27 percent for the ruling conservative New Democracy party, according to the first exit poll released shortly after ballots closed at 19:00 local hour on Sunday.

Ultra-Right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) party vies for the third position with the electoral coalition of Elia (Olive Tree) which includes centre- Left parties, such as the co-ruling socialists of PASOK.

Golden Dawn receives 8-10 percent of votes, while the Olive Tree gets 7-9 percent, according to the exit poll which was jointly conducted by four polling firms for the national television and private channels.

The newly founded centre-Left party of Potami (River) vies for the next position in the rank with the Greek Communist party KKE. Both parties win 5-7 percent of votes according to the exit poll.

They are followed by the nationalists Independent Greeks who garner 3.5- 5 percent and the centre-Left Democratic Left party which wins 1.5-2.5 percent of votes.

In the contest for another key electoral battle in the local administration level in Greece on Sunday, Rena Dourou, SYRIZA's candidate for the post of Regional Governor of Attica, garners exactly the same percentage as the incumbent Yannis Sgouros who has the backing of the two- partite coalition government. Both receive 48-52 percent of votes, according to the exit poll.

Greeks went to the polls on Sunday to elect their 21 MPs in the European parliament and representatives in regional and municipal councils nationwide.

The results of the double elections, in particular the euro elections, are seen by parties and analysts as a referendum on economic policies which could decide the government's future.

In case of an electoral triumph SYRIZA has indicated that it will call for snap general elections to change course from austerity.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has warned that in such a case Greek citizens could see the fruits of their sacrifices since 2010 going to waste. Endi

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