As the Greek election campaign drew to a close late Friday night, party leaders took to rallies around the country to address their supporters and try to sway crucial undecided voters, the BBC reports. Unofficial polls put pro-bailout party New Democracy and anti-bailout party Syriza head to head for the first place win.
New Democracy leader and winner of the previous election Antonis Samaras spoke to a smaller than usual crowd in Athens' Syntagma Square, Kathimerini writes. Samaras appeared virulent against Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras, arguing his rival would drive the country out of the euro and eventually cause a more painful austerity package. Samaras reiterated that staying in the euro with a renegotiated bailout plan was Greece's only way out of the crisis, Reuters adds.
In Thessaloniki, Tsipras spoke out against Greece's loathed bailout while assuring his supporters the country would remain in the eurozone. "The Greek people aren't asking for money, they're asking for jobs and dignity," Tsipiras said according to a HuffPost translation. Syriza's frontman promised to reduce taxation on the lower and middle class, nationalize banks, and create jobs, "starting Monday." Referring to pro-bailout parties as liars and "ship wreckers," Tsipras accused New Democracy and Pasok of wanting to turn the country back 50 years.
Eying coalition talks in the upcoming weeks, political leaders from various parties rallied across Athens. Many referred to a recent controversial article by the Financial Times Deutschland that called on Greeks to vote for Samaras and resist the "demagogue" Tsipras. According to Kathimerine, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos called the article provocative to the Greek people. Tsipras compared the article to pamphlets Germans threw out of planes during the Second World War calling on Greeks to surrender. Samaras on the other hand accused the article of being a provocative set up in favor of Syriza.
Greeks are getting a second chance to vote after the May 6 election failed to produce a government. The whole world will be watching to see the outcome, one that is likely to have profound effects on the stability of the eurozone.
The first polls are expected to be released around 7 p.m. Greek time, 12 p.m. EST.
Antonis Samaras, the leader of the New Democracy party, addresses a crowd of supporters at a rally ahead of Sunday's general election on June 15, 2012 in Athens, Greece. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Supporters of New Democracy party waves Greek flags as the leader Antonis Samaras speaks during an election rally at Syntagma square in Athens, Friday, June 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
Syriza Party leader Alexis Tsipras and the leader of the European United Left at the European Parliament, Germany's Gabriela Zimer, greet supporters during a pre-election party rally in Thessaloniki on June 15, 2012. (SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/GettyImages)
Head of Greece's radical left-wing Syriza party Alexis Tsipras is photographed with a young boy after a rally at Aristotelous square in Thessaloniki, Friday, June 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Nikolas Giakoumidis
Supporters of Evangelos Venizelos, the leader of the social democratic political party PASOK, listen to him speak at a rally ahead of Sunday's general election on June 13, 2012 in Athens, Greece. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Communist party supporters attend the party's main pre-election rally in Athens on June 15, 2012. (Michalis Karagiannis/AFP/GettyImages)
Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis speaks to his supporters during a rally in Thessaloniki, Friday, June 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Nikolas Giakoumidis)
Panos Kamenos, leader of the Independent Greeks party, gives a press conference at the Zappion Hall in central Athens, on June 14, 2012. (ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/GettyImages)