6 May 2012

Greece votes for new parliament

5:29 pm on 6 May 2012

The polls have opened in Greece for parliamentary elections seen as a referendum on the county's harsh austerity measures.

The centre-left Pasok and centre-right New Democracy parties have been in coalition since last November.

They are both expected to suffer due to opposition to the austerity measures imposed by the government in exchange for international bailout funds.

The BBC reports that no single party is expected to gain a majority.

The ability of any new government to carry on with the austerity programme will be crucial for Greece's continued access to bailout funds from the EU, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund - the so-called Troika.

Any political instability may prompt fresh questions over the country's place in the eurozone.

If any new Greek government deviated from its fiscal commitments the country would have to "bear the consequences," German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble said.

Under the current plan, a further 11bn euros of savings in spending are due to be found in June.