Greek election eases fears of eurozone meltdown
New Democracy party comes first in poll
FEARS of an imminent Greek exit from Europe’s joint currency receded as the conservative New Democracy party came first in a critical election.
The vote also saw pro-bailout parties win enough seats to form a joint government.
As central banks stood ready to intervene in case of financial turmoil, Greece held its second national election in six weeks after an inconclusive ballot and the collapse of coalition talks.
With one party advocating ripping up Greece’s multi-billion-euro bailout deal, the election was seen as a vote on whether Greece should stay in the 17-nation group sharing the euro currency.
Near complete results showed the New Democracy conservative party led by Antonis Samaras coming first with 29.6% of the vote and 129 of the 300 seats.
The radical left anti-bailout Syriza party, headed up by Alexis Tsipras, had 26.9% and 71 seats and the pro-bailout Socialist Pasok party came in third with 12.3% of the vote and 33 seats.
The extremist far-right Golden Dawn party took 6.9% of the vote and 18 seats.
With none winning an outright majority, the parties will have to seek coalition partners to form a viable government, needing a simple majority of at least 151 seats.
The US welcomed the result. “We hope this election will lead quickly to the formation of a new government that can make timely progress on the economic challenges facing the Greek people,” the White House said in a statement.