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Date: 06 Jun 2012
Title: 22 Greek parties to contest elections
Athens - A total of 22 parties will contest the general elections in Greece on 17 June.
It was announced on Tuesday after the approval of their participation by the country's Supreme Court.
The court did not give the "green light" to seven political parties due to belated submission of incomplete files, according to the official announcement by the court.
In the previous elections of 6 May, 32 parties participated but no one won a clear parliamentary majority.
Debt-laden Greece heads to a second round of elections as leaders of the parties failed to form a coalition government over differences on the economic policy to be implemented to tackle the crisis that threatens the country with default and an exit from the Eurozone.
As many as 9.85 million citizens are eligible to vote, according to the Greek Interior Ministry.
The last opinion polls released two weeks before the elections showed that the two main parties that lead the polls, the conservative New Democracy (ND) and the SYRIZA Coalition of the Radical Left, head neck-to-neck.
The two parties ranked first and second in the 6 May elections with 19% and 17% of votes.
Two surveys put ND, which backs the international austerity and reform bailout program introduced to tackle the debt crisis, first by between two points ahead of SYRIZA (26.1-26.5 for ND versus 23.6- 24.2 for SYRIZA).
Another poll indicated anti-bailout SYRIZA as frontrunner with 31.5% of votes and New Democracy on 25.5%.
The winner is expected to be forced into a coalition partnership with some of the rest of the parties that will enter the new parliament.
All surveys show that the socialist PASOK party will rank third by about 13.5%.
They will be followed by the Democratic Left, the nationalist Independent Greeks, the Greek Communist Party and the neo-fascist Chryssi Avgi (Golden Dawn) that are expected to garner less than 10% and above the 3% threshold needed to enter the assembly.
The general elections on 17 June are regarded very crucial for Greece, since the outcome could determine the country's future within the Eurozone, according to analysts.
As ND and other parties call for a renegotiation of the terms of the two bailout deals signed with EU counterparts and International Monetary Fund since May 2010, SYRIZA has pledged to renounce the memorandum.
Greek and foreign political leaders and analysts warn that such a move could lead to disorderly default without further international rescue loans and an exit from the Eurozone. - BuaNews-Xinhua