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Greece: Left-wing Syriza coalition captures first place in EU election

Alexis Tsipras asks president to call an early general election as Syriza beats New Democracy with 26.6% of the EU parliament vote

The left-wing opposition Syriza party captured first place in Greece’s election for the European Parliament yesterday.

The radical-left party, pro-EU but fiercely critical of the austerity policies imposed by Greece’s creditors, claimed an important victory in local and regional elections by winning the Attica region, where almost 30 per cent of all Greek voters are registered.

With about 55 per cent of all votes cast counted, Syriza led New Democracy, the senior party in Greece’s coalition government, by 26.6 per cent to 23 per cent.

It is set to send six deputies to the new European Parliament to New Democracy’s five.

The fascist Golden Dawn party was third with 9.4 per cent, despite the fact that its leader and several MPs are in jail pending trial and several others face indictments for criminal acts ranging from murder to arson and extortion.

The formerly marginal neonazi organisation, which polled less than 0.5 per cent in the previous European election in 2009, will have three deputies in the new European parliament.

The Greek Communist Party will have two MEPs, as will the Olive Tree centre-left list led by the nominally socialist Pasok party, New Democracy’s partner in the coalition government.

Voters also elected two MEPs from centre-left list To Potami, while the right-wing populist Independent Greeks just made it over the 3 per cent threshold to elect one MEP.

“Today’s result has torn apart any pretence to popular support for the government,” said Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras, calling for national elections.

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