Greek conservatives to win snap election, unseat leftists: exit poll

Slideshow ( 2 images )

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek opposition conservatives held a strong lead over ruling leftist Syriza in snap elections on Sunday, a joint exit poll by five private TV stations showed.

New Democracy was on course to win 38-42% of the vote, exit polls showed with 80% of the responses counted. Leftwing Syriza which came to power in 2015, would trail with 26.5-30.5% in second place.

Sunday’s vote was set to hand a second sound victory to the centre-right party after it also won the local European parliament vote in May.

New Democracy, led by 51-year-old Kyriakos Mitsotakis, promised austerity-worn Greeks tax relief, stronger growth and a pro-investments stance.

The result was expected to hand Mitsotakis an outright majority with 155-167 seats in the 300-seat legislative house, considerable political capital to make bold policy choices.

By contrast, Tsipras, who clashed with the country’s official lenders and brought Greece to the brink of a euro exit in his fight to undo austerity, had ruled in a partnership with a small rightwing party and a thin parliamentary majority.

Reporting by Athens Bureau, Editing by William Maclean