Conservatives beat Tsipras in Greek vote: exit polls | AFP

Greece’s conservative New Democracy party has defeated Greek leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Sunday’s general election, exit polls showed. Supporters of Greek leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras watch with growing dissapointment as a combined survey by Greece’s main TV stations showed New Democracy leading Tsipras’s Syriza party by an average of 40 percent to 28.5 percent. IMAGES

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Tsipras and Mitsotakis vote in Greece’s general election | AFP

Greek voters cast their ballots in the country’s first national election of the post-bailout era, with leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza party expected to be ousted by the conservative opposition led by Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Exit polls are expected soon after polls close and the first results should come in around 09.00 pm.

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Greeks skeptical ahead of July 7 general election | AFP

Residents of Athens share their thoughts ahead of Greece’s general election on Sunday, in which opinion polls predict a clear victory for Greece’s opposition Conservative party and defeat for Syriza, the ruling left-wing party.

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The Establishment Politician Trying to Win Back Greece

Greece is poised to do something increasingly rare in Europe these days: elect an establishment politician as their next prime minister.

Despite presiding over a fragile economic recovery, Greeks appear to have grown tired of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Syriza party, and are looking to shake things up during this Sunday’s legislative election.

All signs indicate Kyriakos Mitsotakis of the centre-right New Democracy party will come out on top.

If those projections hold and Greeks end up choosing the 51-year-old Mitsotakis on Sunday, voters won’t just be voting for a fresh face, they’ll be ushering in a return to establishment politics.

Unlike Tsipras, who rose to power on a wave of anti-establishment sentiment and anger towards the EU, Mitsotakis represents Greek political aristocracy. His father Konstantinos was Prime Minister between 1990 and 1993.

“I think society realized that electing populists into power is not a solution to underlying economic problems. So essentially what is happening is the pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction,” he told VICE founder Shane Smith during an interview at the New Democracy party headquarters in Athens.

He’s not shy about his establishment credentials either. One of Mitsotakis’s main campaign planks is convincing Greek’s that his financial stewardship can spur renewed confidence in the Greek economy, and lead the lenders who bailed out its economy to the tune of 240 billion euros over eight years to ease their strict requirement that Greece maintain a budget surplus of 3.5 percent.

“The key challenge is to restore high growth rates,” Mitsotakis said. “If the economy grows faster, our creditors are going to be happy because the debt is going to be repaid more easily.”

And to get the economy growing at a faster rate Mitsotakis is appealing to young Greek who left the country during the financial crisis to return.

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Greek MPs ratify Macedonia name change in historic vote

Greek lawmakers ratify a landmark name change deal with neighbouring Macedonia, handing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras a diplomatic triumph and bucking street protests to end one of the world’s most stubborn diplomatic disputes. A narrow majority of 153 MPs in the 300-seat chamber approved the deal, with several independent lawmakers supporting Tsipras’ leftist Syriza party. IMAGES of the Greek Parliament and SOUNDBITE of the House Speaker Nikos Voutsis reading results in Greek

Throwing Stones & Molotov Cocktails: Greek Debt Crisis (Dispatch 2)

Clashes broke out in Greece on July 15 during demonstrations in Syntagma Square that were organized by labor unions, anarchist groups, the Greek Communist Party, and the youth wing of the governing leftist party, Syriza. The protests took place as the Greek parliament was set to vote on a $96 billion deal that the country’s government had negotiated with its European creditors.

Tensions flared when demonstrators began throwing stones and Molotov cocktails toward policemen, at which point officers responded by deploying stun grenades and tear gas. Authorities later reported that more than 50 protesters were arrested.

Watch “Yes or No? Greece Again on the Brink: Greek Debt Crisis (Dispatch 1)” – http://bit.ly/1Sq48Sg

Read “Greek Lawmakers Approve Bailout as Angry Protesters Clash With Riot Police” – http://bit.ly/1LnPBWX

Read “Greece’s Vital Bailout Vote Is Splitting Syriza” – http://bit.ly/1HBt6sW

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Yes or No? Greece Again on the Brink: Greek Debt Crisis (Dispatch 1)

For the past five years, Greece has been struggling with a financial crisis that has led the country to the brink of an exit from the euro and an economic collapse.

A huge bailout program of 240 billion euros ($266bn), borrowed from European countries and the International Monetary Fund, has let Greece survive for now, yet cuts and austerity measures have ensued.

Since last January, the new Syriza government has pledged to renegotiate the terms of the bailout program with its international creditors, promising an end to austerity. On June 26, after five months of negotiations, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced a referendum, calling the country to vote on whether or not to accept the new bailout proposal by its lenders.

Given the expiry date of the funding program just a few days later — and a lack of cash in the country — Greek banks were temporarily shut, a capital control was imposed, and people started queuing at ATMs to withdraw cash with a limit of 60 euros per day.

For many, the choice between “Yes” or “No” in Sunday’s vote has been interpreted as “Yes to Europe” or “No to austerity.”

VICE News took to the streets of Athens in an effort to understand what this critical moment for the country might mean for its position within Europe and the world, and most of all, for the Greek people.

Watch “Death Boats to Greece: Europe or Die” – http://bit.ly/1H3Tldb

Read “Greece Offers Last Ditch Bailout Plan Before Clock Runs Out at Midnight” – http://bit.ly/1IS5y2K

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Austerity and Anger: Protests Against Syriza’s EU Deal

On January 25, the leftist party Syriza emerged victorious in Greece’s national elections. Days later, Alex Tsipras, the new 40-year-old prime minister, formed a coalition government with a strong mandate to renegotiate Greece’s bailout terms and reduce its large debt pile, built up over the five-year financial crisis.

Tsipras and his team then engaged in bitter negotiations with the country’s international lenders. Athens sought to scrap the harsh measures attached to the bailout by describing the plight of austerity-hit Greeks as a “humanitarian crisis.” On February 20, a deal was clinched. The country’s loan agreement was extended by four months, giving Greece more breathing space to negotiate a better pact in the future, but also forcing Syriza to climb down on its pre-election promises.

Despite the deal, Greece is still broke and needs European loans to avoid bankruptcy. The new government’s popularity is slowly declining and uncertainty as to how Syriza will live up to its many promises remains.

Facing backlash from its own supporters, Syriza’s deal with the European Union has sparked angry demonstrations in Athens. VICE News attended the protests and spoke to people disillusioned with the current situation and the party’s pre-election pledges.

Watch “Greece’s Young Anarchists (Part 2)” – http://bit.ly/1xzrXm8

Read “Debt Deal Puts Greece’s New Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in a Tough Spot” – http://bit.ly/19FTaIY

Read “Anger at Greece’s Threat to Unleash Wave of Migrants and ‘Jihadists’ if Europe Leaves it in Crisis” – http://bit.ly/1FaTwUj

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