Voting stations opened at 7:00 am (0400 GMT) on Sunday for Greece’s general election, the interior ministry announced, after a campaign marked by public anger over swingeing austerity cuts.
After two years of cuts, opinion polls suggest voters are set to punish Greece’s two main parties for having agreed to more belt-tightening in return for two international bailouts worth 240 billion euros ($314.0 billion).
That prospect worries international lenders such as the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, who fear that the resulting political instability could plunge the eurozone back into crisis.
Both Greece’s Pasok socialist party and the New Democracy conservatives, the dominant political forces for the past four decades, look likely to lose votes to around 30 smaller parties.
Some of those parties are openly hostile to the cuts imposed by the previous administration in return for the international loans.
Voting is due to end at 7:00 pm, with the first exit polls expected soon after. The first official results are not expected much before 11:00 pm.