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June 18, 2012

Greece votes again for a real government

Antonis Samaras,leader of Greece's New Democracy party. (UPI/Hugo Philpott)

ATHENS, Greece (UPI) -- The second parliamentary election in six weeks began Sunday in Greece to replace the economically strapped country's caretaker government.

The two main opponents are the centrist New Democracy Party, led by Antonis Samaras, and the far left Syriza Party, fronted by Alexis Tsipras.

Both parties have campaigned on keeping the euro currency for the debt-laden country surviving on a bailout by the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, CNN said.

The parties differ on strategy. The New Democracy Party is largely supportive of the bailout, which comes with major austerity measures, while the Syriza party wants the bailout redrafted and softened, the report said.

Greece last held parliamentary elections May 6 and no party won enough of a share to form a government. Sunday's vote was widely expected to create a similar situation in which the winner would need to create a coalition, CNN said.

Apart from national bankruptcy, the specter of Greece abandoning the 17-country euro currency and returning to the drachma has raised international financial concerns.

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