NEWS

Polls open at 7 a.m. in tomorrow’s election

Greeks go to the polls tomorrow to elect a new 300-seat Parliament, in the near certainty that one of the two major parties will win a clear majority, owing to an electoral system which is weighted in favor of the winner. Voting will begin at polling stations across the country at 7 a.m. and finish at 7 p.m. Some 9.79 million people are registered to vote. This number is disproportionately large as Greece has a population of some 11 million. But many registered voters live abroad, the names of many who have died are still on electoral lists, and some 48,000 voters are registered twice. People may find out where they vote by calling 1564 or visiting the Interior Ministry website at www.ypes.gr and looking up their names. About half a million people who recently turned 18 will be voting for the first time. Voters must show their ID card or passport. No other papers are needed. In 2000, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) won 43.79 percent of the vote and 158 seats, New Democracy got 42.74 percent and 125 seats, the Communist Party 11 seats and Synaspismos Left Coalition six. Also trying to cross the 3 percent threshold for entry to Parliament are the Democratic Social Movement (DIKKI) and far-right LAOS. Many people will travel to their home towns and villages to vote, using cars, ships, airplanes, trains and buses. The weather is expected to be cold but will not present serious obstacles to travel. Exit polls will be broadcast immediately after polls close. Official results will be broadcast as they come in to the Interior Ministry.