June 17, 2012 - 18:19 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Greece is voting amid global fears that victory by parties which have vowed to cancel the country's international bailout agreements and accompanying austerity measures could undermine the European Union's joint currency and pitch the world's major economies into another sharp downturn, Belfast Telegraph said.
For Greeks, it is the second national election in six weeks and arguably the most critical in decades, reflecting political turmoil sparked by a two-year financial crisis that some fear could force the country to abandon the euro and return to its old currency, the drachma.
That in turn would likely drag down other financially troubled countries and threaten the euro itself.
The last opinion polls published before a two-week pre-election ban showed the radical left Syriza party of Alexis Tsipras running neck-and-neck with the conservative New Democracy party of Antonis Samaras. But no party is likely to win enough votes to form a government on its own, meaning a coalition will have to be formed to avoid yet another election.
Strong winds in the Greek archipelago forced the cancellation of some ferry routes, raising doubts about whether some voters would be able to get to islands with polling stations in time.
Inconclusive elections on May 6 resulted in no party winning enough votes to form a government, and coalition talks collapsed after 10 days.
The vote, which also sent the formerly governing socialist PASOK party plunging to historic lows, sent a very clear message that Greeks have lost patience with the deep austerity imposed in return for the country receiving billions of euros (dollars) in rescue loans from other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund.