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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Governing Greek Party In the Lead

ATHENS -- Greece's governing conservatives appeared headed for election victory Sunday, exit polls showed, despite widespread anger over devastating forest fires that killed more than 65 people last month.

An exit poll for Greece's state television projected the governing New Democracy party ahead with 42.2 percent of the vote, and the opposition socialist PASOK party in second place with 38.5 percent.

The poll, conducted by the RASS-MARC polling agency for the state television channel NET, said its margin of error was plus or minus 1 percentage point.

If confirmed, the projections will indicate a slip in support for both parties from the previous election in 2004, when New Democracy had won with 45.4 percent, ahead of PASOK with 40.5 percent.

"The government won under very difficult circumstances. Of course there is a message for New Democracy which we must listen to," said Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis, a senior official in New Democracy.

The early results indicated that New Democracy might win enough seats in the 300-member unicameral parliament to form a governing majority. Before the election, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis had ruled out the possibility of forming a coalition with any other party if he did not win enough votes to form a majority government and the election resulted in a hung parliament.