As it happened: Election in Greece

Key points

  • A pro-bailout party, New Democracy, seems set for victory by a slim margin in Greece's election
  • New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras has called for a national salvation government
  • New Democracy's likely main partner, Pasok, has called for radical leftists Syriza to be included
  • Syriza came second on an anti-bailout platform and seems unlikely to join a new government
  • Germany continues to insist Greece must abide by the terms of its international bailouts
  • All times in BST (GMT: -1 hour, Greek time: +2 hours)

    Welcome to our live coverage of the election in Greece. Votes are still being cast in a ballot being closely watched by the rest of the eurozone and the international financial markets. Follow us for results as they roll in, analysis from correspondents, and comment from readers in Greece and abroad.


    You can also watch special election coverage on the BBC News and World channels, or tune into BBC World Service.


    Greece held an election only last month, of course, but the winning parties failed to agree on a new government so a repeat election was called.


    The parties split over the terms of the bailouts, two huge loan packages negotiated with the EU and IMF, to save Greece from bankruptcy.

    1535: Mark Lowen, BBC Athens correspondent,

    reports: This is the tightest, most unpredictable and most critical election for many decades in Greece. The outcome could determine the future of the single currency. Opinion polls suggest Greeks hate austerity but they back the euro. The question today is how many more painful sacrifices are they willing to make to keep the single currency?


    The heat is on Greece in more ways than one with highs of nearly 30C recorded in Athens today. This picture shows people cooling off at one of the capital's beaches.

    Bathers on an Athens beach, 17 June

    Even the two parties which backed the bailout terms earlier this year - the conservative New Democracy and socialist Pasok - now say they want to ease the conditions.

    1543: Stephen Evans, BBC Berlin correspondent,

    reports that Germany's position is if Greece's structural reforms continue, the money keeps flowing.


    It has generally been a peaceful day of voting with one exception: two grenades were reportedly found outside offices of private media group Skai near the port of Piraeus. They were found after an anonymous phone call to the group, whose outlets have backed the austerity drive.


    This photo shows voters arriving at a polling station in Athens.

    Voters arrive at a polling station in Athens, 17 June
    1553: Nick Malkoutzis, deputy editor of Greece's daily English-language newspaper Kathimerini,

    tweets: "Just over an hour left until polls close. This is when younger people tend to vote. Their choices could swing these elections."

    1558: Paul Mason, economics editor for BBC Newsnight,

    reported this week on why young people in rural Greece were growing increasingly radical. "If I knew things would be like this I would not have got married," said Stathis Mithroleos, 30, a father-of-two. Read Paul's powerful feature.


    Germany has been portrayed by some in Greece as a cruel taskmaster. Speaking just before the election, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said he had "really huge sympathy for the man on the street in Greece". Yet, he added, he could "not spare him".

    Dimitris Jacob Nikol

    tweets: such a big day here in Greece, hope the best about the national elections, but I hope tomorrow wake up inside eurozone!

    Tim Willcox, presenter and reporter for BBC News

    tweets: One Syriza economist says the debt will never be paid back


    One of the new faces of Greece this year is, undoubtedly, Alexis Tsipras. Here he is arriving to vote in Athens a little earlier.

    Alexis Tsipras arrives to vote in Athens, 17 June

    Mr Tsipras's radical leftwing bloc Syria stormed to second place at the May election, promising to rip up the bailout terms. At 37 he is the country's youngest political leader. What makes him tick? Read our profile.

    Andrew Ragousis

    tweets: I never felt so stressed after elections so far, so much at stake, hope I made the right choice...

    D.Wetenhall from Pamber Heath, Hampshire, UK

    emails: I feel sorry for the Greek people especially those out of work and having hard time, but we all know that keeping to grips with the household budget is essential for a happy life.


    This is a photo of Antonis Samaras, leader of New Democracy, voting in Pylos, south-west of Athens. New Democracy is now seen by many as the party most committed to the bailout terms.

    Antonis Samaras votes in Pylos, south-west of Athens, 17 June

    Just over a year ago, however, Mr Samaras was the bugbear of the German media after rejecting the initial loan package. Read our profile of Greece's "gadfly".

    Malcolm Chandler from Redhill, UK

    emails: We are in Assos on Kefalonia. No one is voting. The local people are fed up with politicians and hate Germany. There is despair at the extent of the cuts.


    New Democracy led Syriza by just two percentage points at the May ballot but because it came first, it automatically gained an extra 50 seats in the 300-seat parliament. Baffled? Let BBC Monitoring's election Q&A explain.

    Mehran Khalili, blogger and photojournalist,

    tweets: Voting really picking up here in Corinth. People of all ages. Queues spilling onto pavement

    Mark Lowen, BBC Athens correspondent,

    tweets: In all of this election madness, perhaps craziest thing is that Greeks can't vote abroad or out of registered constituency, hindering turnout


    Update on those grenades found outside a Skai TV office near Piraeus. Police confirm they were operational but there was no explosion. "Somebody is trying to disturb the holding of the election but this effort will fail," said government spokesman Dimitris Tsiodras. "Democracy cannot be terrorised."


    The clock is ticking down... This photo just published by blogger Mehran Khalili shows a woman waiting to vote at a polling station in Corinth.

    Voter in Corinth, 17 June

    tweets: Voting under way in Greece but euro finished whatever the outcome


    Forest fires in southern Greece appeared to be abating today but high winds mean the danger is far from over, the Associated Press news agency reports. Some tweeters have picked up on the fires as an image of the economic dangers facing Greece...

    Spyros Gkelis, a university lecturer in Greece,

    tweets: Today's voting with all those fires burning around us: can't be more symbolic of what we live in Greece lately

    Nick Malkoutzis, deputy editor of Greece's daily English-language newspaper Kathimerini,

    tweets: Hand grenades defused. Waiting for exit polls in landmark election for Greece & Europe. Not an average day at the office


    "Family is what keeps our society together, particularly in times of crisis" - Paravoliasis Panagiotis, 30, Piraeus. Read more of what Paravoliasis and others have to say in our Voters' Views.


    The abstention rate is higher than at the 6 May poll, state-run NET TV is quoted as saying by Athens News newspaper.


    News of the higher abstention rate is a surprise. Turnout was expected to be higher than last month.

    Yannis from Manchester

    emails: I won't be able to vote from where I live as the Greek state hasn't implemented the vote from abroad as yet. Nevertheless I feel for my people and I hope that today's vote will result in a government that will grasp the country's heartbeat for structural revolution and social reform.

    1655: Chris Morris-News, BBC Europe correspondent,

    reports: A few minutes until polls close and we're getting indications that it could be very close between the top two parties, New Democracy and Syriza. Could be a long night...


    First exit poll results suggest the outcome is too close to call. Pro-bailout party New Democracy is about equal on 27-30% with anti-bailout party Syriza.


    First exit poll results via Mega TV: New Democracy - 27.5-30.5%, Syriza - 27-30%, Pasok - 10-12%, Independent Greeks - 6-7.5%, Golden Dawn - 6-7.5%, Democratic Left - 5.5-6.5%, Communists - 5-6%.


    New Democracy is being given a lead of 0.5% but this is still only an exit poll. Nearly two and a half hours to go before first official results.


    On the basis of the exit poll results, both New Democracy and Syriza have increased their share of the vote by as much as 10 percentage points. Support for Pasok has dropped further and the Communists appear also to have taken a knock.

    1714: Chris Morris, BBC Europe correspondent,

    reports: Pretty much a dead heat statistically. But don't forget whoever comes first - however narrowly - gets 50 extra seats. Every vote counts - the cliche has never been more true.


    Golden Dawn, the far-right party which stunned many with its strong showing on 6 May, has kept its share of the vote, exit polls suggest.

    Theopi Skarlatos

    tweets: Exit poll ridiculously close and Golden Dawn with 6% shocking.. Are we about to go into a 3rd election? Surely this can't happen?

    Spyros Gkelis, a university lecturer in Greece,

    tweets: Syriza is at 30% from 4.5%. Neo-Nazis are at 7% from 0.5%. Greece is not the same country anymore. Europe to follow if policies remain same


    A ballot box was burnt at a polling station in Athens, Greek media report. Unclear if vote there must take place again, writes Nick Malkoutzis, deputy editor of daily English-language newspaper Kathimerini.

    Theodora Oikonomides, Greek citizen journalist,

    tweets from Athens: Two cops in polling station where ballot box was burnt were wounded & taken to hospital


    Golden Dawn, Greece's far-right party, quoted by Athens News: "Our struggle will continue inside and outside parliament to get rid of the memorandum." "Memorandum" is the official term for the terms of the bailouts.

    Dimitris G.E. Tsigos

    tweets: A non-political, government of experts with wide parliamentary support is the only way forward for Greece


    German Chancellor Angela Merkel is delaying her departure for the G20 summit in Mexico by about 12 hours, a German official has told Reuters news agency. No details yet.


    If you have just joined us, welcome to our live coverage of one of the most gripping elections in recent Greek history. Official results are not due for more than an hour and a half but exit polls suggest the margin between the two biggest parties is tighter than tight. Stay with us for updates on the results, analysis from correspondents and comment from readers in Greece and abroad.

    Maria Kagkelidou

    tweets: New Democracy supporters outside electoral kiosk look uncomfortable. Not many politicians wishing to comment, many cancelling on media


    This photo shows Syriza supporters watching exit poll data come in at the bloc's campaign centre in Athens.

    Syriza supporters watch exit polls at the bloc's campaign centre in Athens, 17 June
    1803: Tim Willcox, presenter and reporter for BBC News,

    points out that the exit polls represent only 80% of the vote.

    1810: Mark Lowen, BBC Athens correspondent,

    says that even if the pro-bailout New Democracy party does come first, gaining the bonus 50 seats awarded the winner, it will not have an outright majority. It will probably try to form a coalition with Pasok and, possibly, Democratic Left.

    1816: Chris Morris, BBC Europe correspondent,

    reports: The New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras had portrayed this election as a choice between staying in the euro or going back to the drachma. But that's not how Syriza and its supporters see it - they believe it's about promoting a different kind of economic policy to help Greece out of a spiral of recession and unemployment.

    1823: Nick Malkoutzis, deputy editor of Greece's daily English-language newspaper Kathimerini

    tweets: In 2000, exit polls gave New Democracy a 0.5% lead but Pasok won by 1%, cutting ND celebrations short. Nobody cheering at moment


    There are reports that the first official results will be delayed. We had been looking at 19:30 BST originally.


    But a "second wave" of exit polls is expected shortly, Nick Malkoutzis of Kathimerini writes.


    Antenna TV estimates that New Democracy will win by more than 1 percentage point, Kathimerini reports.

    1837: Mark Lowen, BBC Athens correspondent,

    reports that, on the basis of a new exit poll, it appears New Democracy is edging ahead. That's the main pro-bailout party, of course.


    New exit poll via Antenna TV: New Democracy - 28.6-30%, Syriza - 27-28.4%, Pasok - 11-12.5%, Independent Greeks - 6.8-7.8%, Golden Dawn - 6.5-7.1%, Democratic Left - 5.8-6.6%, Communists - 4.8-5.6%


    The margin of error for the latest poll is 3%, points out Sean Klein, BBC Europe bureau editor.


    The surprise low turnout is backed up by official figures. On the basis of 18% of the count, it was 58.58%, compared to 65.1% at the 6 May election.


    Now Syriza is quoting a source suggesting that IT is ahead by one percentage point, according to Kathimerini newspaper.

    Gavin Hewitt, BBC Europe editor,

    tweets: Mood changing. Some limited cheering at New Democracy HQ in Athens. They believe they will end up with largest number of votes.

    Marella Oppenheim

    tweets: Here in Athen looks like New Democracy to win. Now the country braces itself for street demos and mayhem.


    Election news from another eurozone state: Francois Hollande's Socialist Party have won an absolute majority in the lower house of parliament, on the basis of exit polls. This should strengthen Mr Hollande's hand in pushing for growth action in the EU. Read our story.

    1906: Matthew Price, BBC Europe correspondent,

    says: If those exit polls are correct - and remember they are very close - then the next Greek government will be led by New Democracy (Europe's preferred choice) in coalition with one or two other parties. Still, it will be relatively weak, and it will seek to change the terms of the bailout. And Europe, we assume, will have to comply to some extent because the vote against the status quo here, against more cuts and tax hikes, has been huge.


    Germans may have mixed feelings about Antonis Samaras who, as New Democracy's leader, is likely to be the next Greek prime minister. For refusing to back the terms of the first bailout in 2010, he was seen as a "fly in the ointment" by the German media. But the conservative leader's admirers would say he is a man of principle. Read our profile.

    Ioanna Voudouri

    tweets: Beyond any pro or against euro discussion, the potential rise of Golden Dawn is the scariest aspect of the electoral result

    1914: Matthew Price, BBC Europe correspondent,

    reports: Subdued atmosphere in Athens tonight. Just like last election. Many people just at home, watching nervously on TV. Greeks are proud and therefore private when it comes to explaining their fears to foreigners, I have found. But behind closed doors tonight they are worried about what this means for their country and their futures.

    Eloi Eloi, eurozone blogger

    : Greece fixed. Crisis over. #bored


    A senior Pasok politician is being quoted as saying the party will not join a new government with New Democracy without Syriza. Some doubt being cast as to how representative this view is.

    1929: Breaking News

    Official projection of result: New Democracy - 29.5%, Syriza - 27.1%. That is from the Greek interior ministry, based on 18% of votes counted.


    AFP confirms that first official estimate and adds that Pasok is projected to win 12.3%.

    Dr David Green in Athens

    emails: If the exit polls are right, then this is the best result for us Brit-Greeks in Greece. We will now have a government with the three most competent and sensible politicians, i.e Messrs Samaras, Venizelos and Kouvelis. I'm particularly pleased that Mr Kouvelis will join the new coalition government as he's a politician of the highest integrity. I didn't vote for him but Greece needs him at this juncture.

    D. Dalakouras in Athens

    emails: The slight majority of the pro-euro parties is too fragile. The European Union must urgently step in and offer help for the elder pensioners and the unemployed in exchange for immediate structural changes in the public sector. This will alleviate the social tension of the weak to balance out the social tension to be created from the new wave of unemployed civil servants.

    Be Seen

    tweets: New Democracy will win because Greeks want euro. Eurozone must work more for development in Greece


    This photo shows a New Democracy supporter watching exit polls at the main New Democracy campaign centre in Athens.

    A New Democracy supporter watches exit polls at the main New Democracy campaign centre in Athens, 17 June

    Based on that official projection, New Democracy could theoretically form a new government with Pasok alone, having 161 of the 300 seats in parliament between them.


    German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle Westerwelle has signalled Greece may get small concessions from the eurozone but nothing like a full renegotiation of its bailout terms. "There can't be substantial changes to the agreements but I can imagine that we would talk about the time axes once again," he is quoted by Reuters as saying on German TV.


    "But there is no way out of the reforms," Mr Westerwelle added. "Greece must stick to what has been agreed. If we said to Greece, no matter what we agreed, it doesn't matter anymore, then we would get a problem with all the other European countries that are diligently and persistently implementing their reforms."


    Another photo of a New Democracy supporter in Athens. Beaming from the poster is party leader Antonis Samaras.

    A New Democracy supporter stands by a poster of Antonis Samaras in Athens, 17 June
    Anthee Carassava, Los Angeles Times reporter in Athens,

    tweets: Syntagma [Square, central Athens] to flood with supporters. Samaras heading to Zappeion [House] for victory speech


    With 40% of the vote counted, New Democracy has 30.45%, Syriza - 26.04%, Pasok - 12.85%. Based on official these figures, New Democracy and Pasok would have 165 seats between them in the 300-seat parliament.


    Live pictures show the New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras wading through a throng of supporters, his arm raised in an apparent victory salute.


    "I am relieved. I am relieved for Greece and Europe. As soon as possible we will form a government" - that was the message from Mr Samaras as he left his office, according to Reuters.

    2012: Chris Morris BBC Europe correspondent

    reports: Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos says on TV that Greece should form a government tomorrow and Syriza should also be in it. But Syriza officials say the party won't join a New Democracy-led coalition.


    New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras is speaking in central Athens. He opens by saying that "the Greek people have voted for a European future for Greece." He adds: "There will be no doubt about the position of Greece in Europe."


    "Our people have honoured us with their vote and I would like from my heart to thank everyone," Mr Samaras continues.


    "I will work with everyone in order to achieve our national goal to come out of this crisis with social unity, jobs and security... for every Greek," the New Democracy leader says, to applause.


    "I will make sure that the sacrifices of the Greek people will bring the country back to prosperity," Mr Samaras says in English. "We are determined to do what it takes, and do it fast." With that, he brings what correspondents are calling a victory speech, to a close.

    2026: Mark Lowen BBC Athens correspondent

    says there seems to be a conclusive result from the election, but that whatever Mr Samaras says, there will be very, very difficult times ahead, given the large vote for the strongly anti-bailout parties.


    tweets: Is democracy still functioning when 50% of Greeks have not voted for either of the two contending parties? #Greece2012

    2030: Chris Morris BBC Europe correspondent

    reports: Antonis Samaras tells the BBC in the scrum that he wants to form a government as quickly as possible. Asked if he feared Syriza would be a strong opposition, he said he hoped they would be a fair opposition.


    Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras has called New Democracy's Antonis Samaras to congratulate him, reports say. But there is little sign of political accord in his first remarks after the poll. "We propose to upset the austerity measures and the bailout," Mr Tsipras says, adding, "this is the only viable solution for Europe".


    Mr Samaras is meeting supporters in Syntagma Square in central Athens, surrounded by television cameras and lights.


    The BBC News website has this video clip of Mr Samaras's victory address. He calls the projected New Democracy win "a victory for all Europe".


    Supporters of Greece's extreme right Golden Dawn party have also been celebrating the election results - with the party projected to win enough votes to enter parliament on the back of growing anti-immigrant sentiment and concern about security.

    Supporters of Golden Dawn
    Emmanouil Sperelakis in Athens

    emails: I am really worried over the future of my country, for many of my countrymen have been short-sighted and believed that supporting anti-bailout parties will somehow restore their wages back to their original levels, without understanding the long-term implications of exiting the Eurozone.

    Ariana Yakas

    tweets: So it could be that New Democracy, the political party that got #Greece in this mess, gets the poisoned chalice! #Greece


    Fotis Kouvelis, leader of Democratic Left which is projected to win 6% and 16 seats, has said his party is open to the formation of a coalition government. Democratic Left split away from Syriza in 2010.

    Louis Ekermans in Berlin

    emails: It pleases me that the Greeks have chosen to give the New Democratic party the biggest share of the vote. One can only hope that the political parties in Greece will now put their differences aside and do their patriotic duty.


    The vote count has now reached 69%. On this basis, New Democracy won 30.13 %, Syriza 26.47% and Pasok 12.6%. New Dawn, the far-right party regarded as neo-Nazis by some, won 6.94%, which translates into 18 seats in parliament.

    2132: Matthew Price, BBC Europe correspondent

    reports: No surprise that Germany would say tonight that the time frames associated with the bailout could be adjusted. The IMF - we know - agrees that Greece can't deliver in the time envisaged. So adjusting that is no hard sell to any of Greece's lenders. But will such a "tweak" to the terms and conditions be enough for a Greek public who clearly are being ground down by the cuts and tax rises?


    Greece are to play Germany in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals after the Germans beat the Danes 2-1. Could this be the grudge match to end all grudge matches?


    tweets: Angela Merkel will be special guest referee. #Germany #Greece


    Welcome if you have just joined us to our live coverage of Greece's dramatic general election. On paper, the two parties which backed the bailout terms have won enough seats to form a new government but conservative New Democracy and socialist Pasok are old foes politically. Stay with us for updates, analysis from correspondents and comments from readers.


    Watch Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras accept defeat at the ballot box while vowing to continue his fight against the bailout terms in this BBC clip.

    Natalia in Elounda

    emails: I voted for Recreate Greece [projected to win 1.5% and obtain no seats], a party which speaks the voice of reason, wanting real change in Greece. Unfortunately most Greek parties and their voters view the austerity measures as a necessary/unnecessary evil in order to secure the next instalment in the bailout loan and don't want to admit that these changes are absolutely vital in order for us to finally become a financially viable country.


    The White House says it hopes a new government will be formed quickly "that can make timely progress on the economic challenges facing the Greek people". "We believe that it is in all our interests for Greece to remain in the euro area while respecting its commitment to reform."


    This photo shows New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras leaving Zappeion Hall in Athens after making his statement on the early election results.

    Antonis Samaras leaves Zappeion Hall in Athens after making his statement on the early election results, 17 June
    2203: Matthew Price, BBC Europe correspondent,

    reports: As far as Greece's lenders see it, the political problem in Greece has been laid to rest (for now) - yet the economic crisis remains as intense as ever. Hundreds of billions in debt, reliance on outside help to stay afloat, a population saying they can take no more cuts. An Athens shopkeeper today told me Greeks are at fault, that they need a major cultural shift to become the kind of economy that can fit with the eurozone. That takes decades to achieve. The Greek tragedy is not over tonight. The euro still has an economic black hole to deal with. Greece will remain a source of instability.


    The vote count has just passed 80%. On this basis, New Democracy won 30.05 %, Syriza 26.57% and Pasok 12.48%. New Dawn, the far-right party, won 6.93%. So little change.


    EU leaders say they hope a new government will be formed quickly and that they look forward to working with it. In a joint statement, Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso say the second bailout is "the basis upon which to build to foster growth, prosperity and jobs for the Greek people".


    Mr Van Rompuy and Mr Barroso make no mention of any adjustment to the bailout terms. However, they do say they are aware of the "sacrifices which are demanded from [the Greek people] to redress the Greek economy and build new, sustainable growth".


    "We will continue to stand by Greece as a member of the EU family and of the Euro area" - Van Rompuy and Barroso.


    More sleigh bells than alarm bells? "Troika" representatives are to visit Athens soon to discuss the way forward, eurogroup chief Jean-Paul Juncker has announced. The Troika consists of Greece's international creditors: the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF.


    The eurogroup "is convinced that continued fiscal and structural reforms are Greece's best guarantee to overcome the current economic and social challenges", says Mr Juncker, who is prime minister of Luxembourg.

    Nick Malkoutzis, deputy editor of Greece's daily English-language newspaper Kathimerini

    tweets New Democracy's Samaras spent 5 hrs trying to form a gov't after May 6 elections. Might try for a little longer this time.

    Mehran Khalili, blogger and photojournalist in Greece,

    tweets: To overcome the challenges this country faces, ppl need to do a lot more than just vote.


    "I voted for the bailout because these are the terms that will keep us in Europe," English teacher Koula Louizopoulou told Reuters after casting her ballot in Athens. She hinted she had chosen New Democracy. "It's the first time I feel depressed after voting, knowing that I voted again for those who created the problem, but we don't have another choice."


    The IMF says it is ready to work with Greece's next government - AFP news agency. "We take note of the election results in Greece and stand ready to engage with the new government on the way forward to help Greece achieve its objective of restoring financial stability, economic growth and jobs."


    This photo shows members of the far-right Golden Dawn celebrating tonight in the northern city of Thessaloniki. Their party took 6.9% of the vote and will have 18 MPs, based on 91% of the count.

    Golden Dawn members celebrate in Thessaloniki, 17 June

    "Merkel believes Greece will respect its European undertakings" - AFP.


    German Chancellor Angela Merkel phoned Antonis Samaras to congratulate him on his "good result", AFP adds. "She said she proceeded from the principle that Greece was going to respect its European obligations," the German government said in a press statement.


    So for Mrs Merkel it appears to be business as usual tonight regarding Greece. And that concludes our live coverage of the Greek election. Remember, you can still follow our news story through the night.


Join the discussion

Comment here

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published.
Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.

Terms and conditions

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.