Cheers as Alexis Tsipras' Syriza party wins its third election in Greece
Jubilant supporters of Alexis Tsipras' left-wing Syriza party cheered, waved party flags and danced last night after the party comfortably won Greece's third national vote this year.
The victory came despite a rebellion within his party over his acceptance of a painful third international bailout.
With 44% of the vote counted, Syriza stood at 35.5%, with the conservative New Democracy at 28%, while the Nazi-inspired Golden Dawn was coming in third with 7.1%, followed closely by the once-mighty socialist Pasok party with 6.3%.
Abstention was high, at nearly 45% in an election-weary country with a traditionally high voter turnout.
Although Syriza was projected as falling short of an absolute majority in the 300-member parliament, Mr Tsipras was expected to form a coalition government with relative ease.
The 41-year-old former prime minister triggered the election by resigning in August.
His former coalition partner, the small nationalist Independent Greeks, was set to win just over the 3% threshold to enter parliament, while centrist parties have indicated they would agree to a coalition to ensure repeat elections are not necessary.
New Democracy head Vangelis Meimarakis conceded defeat and called for a government to be formed quickly.