Greek voters went to the polls today (17 November) in the country's first parliamentary elections for a decade -- and appeared to give a powerful enforsement to out going Premier Constantine Karamanlis, who has led the campaign to restore democratic rule in Greece.
GV Athens street PAN TO voters
SV Voters queleing (2 shots)
SV Voters entering voting station and receiving papers and voting (4 shots)
SV Karamanlis mobbed by supporters as he leaves polling station
SCU INT Mavros voting (3 shots)
SV Papandreou voting and waving
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Background: Greek voters went to the polls today (17 November) in the country's first parliamentary elections for a decade -- and appeared to give a powerful enforsement to out going Premier Constantine Karamanlis, who has led the campaign to restore democratic rule in Greece.
Tonight, with about a tenth of the votes counted, Premier Karamanlis was already claiming victory. His Ne Democracy Party had gained fifty-five per cent of early votes, which experts predicted would closely reflect the final outcome.
Support on this scale would give the Prime Minister 180 seats in the 300-member Parliament, and would allow him to revise the constitution and create a strong executive administration as a deterrent against political upheaval.
In a statement on the early returns, Mr. Karamanlis said that the United ???, which included the recently legalised Greek Communist Party, had considerably lower support than expected.
The early returns showed the United Left taking only nine per cent of the voting. The Centre Union-New Forces led by former Deputy Premier George Mavros taken 20 per cent and the Panhellenic Socialist Movement of Mr. Andreas Papandreou 13 per cent.
Final results are due to be announced on Monday.
SYNOPSIS: It's ten years since the last parliamentary elections in Greece -- and voters were out in force in Athens and throughout the country as the polling stations opened on Saturday. The election restores full democratic rule following many years of military government. At stake were three-hundred seats in the country's Parliament.
The role of the military in this election was solely to guard the twelve-thousand polling stations. There was plenty of incentive to vote -- the choice of five parties fielding a total of fifteen-hundred candidates, and the threat of stiff penalties of imprisonment for anyone not voting.
Supporters mobbed Prime Minister Constantine Karamanlis when he voted in Athens. Early returns gave fifty-five per cent of the votes to his New Democracy Party. And by Saturday evening, he was claiming victory, anticipating an overall majority.
Former Deputy Premier George Mavros, leader of the Centre Union-New Forces Party, voted at the same polling station in Athens. His grouping picked up twenty per cent of votes in early returns.
Surprisingly, the United Left -including the Communists -- was making a fairly poor showing. The Panhellenic Socialist Movement of Andreas Papandreou was taking third place, with thirteen per cent of early voting.