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Radical-leftist Syriza party has won a clear victory in Greece’s general election.

With nearly 70% of the votes counted, Syriza is projected to win 149 seats, just two short of an absolute majority, though that number could change.

Syriza’s leader Alexis Tsipras, who has vowed to renegotiate Greece’s debt with international creditors, said “today the Greeks wrote history”.

The ruling New Democracy has come a distant second.

Outgoing PM Antonis Samaras has admitted defeat and called Alexis Tsipras to congratulate him.

Appearing before jubilant crowds in the capital Athens, Alexis Tsipras, 40, said Greek voters gave Syriza “a clear, powerful mandate”.

“You are an example of history which is changing… Your mandate is undoubtedly cancelling the bailouts of austerity and destruction. Alexis Tsipras Syriza wins Greece elections

“The troika for Greece is the thing of the past,” Alexis Tsipras added, referring to Greece’s biggest international lenders – the European Union, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Central Bank (ECB).

He also promised to negotiate a fair and mutually beneficial financial solution.

Alexis Tsipras earlier vowed to reverse many of the austerity measures adopted by Greece since a series of bailouts began in 2010.

For his part, Antonis Samaras said earlier: “The Greek people have spoken and I respect their decision,” pointing out that he had inherited a “hot potato” on coming into office and that he and his party had done much to restore his country’s finances.

The result is being closely watched outside Greece, where it is believed a Syriza victory could encourage radical leftist parties across Europe.

Either way however, partial results from Greece’s election commission showed a clear Syriza lead.

With 67% of the votes counted, Syriza is polling 36%, while the New Democracy is a distant second with 28%.

An acronym meaning the “Radical Coalition of the Left”, Syriza was formed in 2004 as an umbrella group. It first came to prominence following the 2008 Greek riots.

Another five parties – Far-right Golden Dawn and centrist The River – are expected to be represented in the 300-member parliament, beating the 3% threshold.

The proportion of votes won by smaller parties will have a large impact on whether Syriza can gain the required 151 parliamentary seats to govern with an absolute majority.

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Greece is voting in a general election which could result in the country trying to renegotiate the terms of its bailout with international lenders.

The left-wing Syriza party, which is tipped to win, wants part of Greece’s huge debt written off and austerity measures revoked.

This has spooked money markets and raised fears of a Greek exit from the euro.

The governing New Democracy party says the economy is recovering.

Greece has endured tough budget cuts in return for the bailout negotiated with the so-called troika of lenders – the European Union, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Central Bank (ECB).

The economy has shrunk drastically since the 2008 global financial crisis, increasing unemployment and throwing many Greeks into poverty.

Polls across Greece opened at 07:00 local time and will close at 19:00.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

There are nearly 10 million eligible voters, who are electing the country’s 300-member parliament.

First exit polls are expected immediately after the voting ends.

Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras says his party will restore “dignity” to Greece by rolling back on cuts to jobs, pay and pensions which have hurt millions of people across the country.

The possibility of a Syriza victory has sparked fears that Greece could default on its debt and leave the euro – the single currency of 19 EU members.

This is despite the fact that Syriza has moderated its stance since the peak of the eurozone crisis, and says it wants Greece to stay a member of the currency.

Meanwhile, the leader of centre-right New Democracy and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has promised to work “day and night” to keep the country standing.

Syriza, he argues, could force Greece from the euro by its policies, serving what he called the “drachma lobby”, a reference to the former Greek currency.

Antonis Samaras also warns that Greece could miss out on a massive program of quantitative easing unveiled by the ECB last week to help stimulate the eurozone economy.

The centrist To Potami and the right-wing Golden Dawn party are expected to fight for third place in the elections.

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Greece’s left-wing party Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras says an end to “national humiliation” is near, as opinion polls put the party ahead three days before the general election.

Alexis Tsipras asked supporters for a clear mandate to enable him to end Greece’s austerity policies.

He repeated his promise to have half of Greece’s international debt written off when the current bailout deal ends.

Greece has endured deep budget cuts tied to the massive bailout.

The country’s election on January 25 is being closely watched by financial markets which fear that a Syriza victory could lead Greece to default on its debt and exit from the euro.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

“On Monday, national humiliation will be over. We will finish with orders from abroad,” Alexis Tsipras told thousands of cheering supporters at the party’s final election rally in Athens.

“We are asking for a first chance for Syriza. It might be the last chance for Greece.”

Greece has gone through a deep recession and still has a quarter of its workforce unemployed.

However, there have been warnings that a Syriza victory could lead to a dangerous confrontation with other eurozone countries.

Syriza is tipped to win but without an outright majority, and analysts say the party may struggle to find a coalition partner.

Alexis Tsipras has said he will not govern with those who support what he has called the policies of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Germany is seen in Greece as taking the hardest line on its debt.

Earlier this month, a spokesman for Angela Merkel said Germany expected Greece to uphold the terms of its international bailout agreement.

Under those terms, the EU, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank – the so-called troika – supported Greece with the promise of €240 billion in return for budget cuts and economic reforms.

Latest polls show Syriza widening its lead over PM Antonis Samaras’s centre-right New Democracy party.

A poll to be published on January 23 by Metron Analysis put Syriza’s lead over New Democracy up to 5.3 percentage points from 4.6 points.

Another poll, by Rass, had Syriza 4.8 points in the lead.

Antonis Samaras will hold his final election rally on January 23 as both sides make a final push to win over undecided voters.

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