Greek Elections 2012: A Practical Guide [WSJ]

By Matina Stevis

A key part of following an election is knowing the rules. Here’s our guide to following the Greek elections. Times are in GMT and parts of this post are taken from the official Greek Interior Ministry circular. 

Key dates and times

The election will take place on Sunday, May 6. Polls open at 5 a.m. GMT and close at 5 p.m. GMT. The so-called exit polls, i.e. estimates of the vote outcome based on a random sample of voters collected as they exit the polling stations, are released immediately after 5 p.m.

Votes start being counted as polls close, but the process normally goes on until the early hours of the next morning. Due to the fragmentation of the popular vote in these elections, results in some areas could be too close to call, warranting waiting for final results to come in from the Interior Ministry. 


Thirty-two political parties are competing in these elections. The most recent polls suggest that eight to 10 parties will elect deputies in the 300-seat Greek parliament. In the past, a five-party parliament has been the norm. The latest polls show that the conservative New Democracy party will likely get the most votes.

Getting elected

The threshold a party has to cross to enter parliament is 3% of the popular vote. The electoral system is a so-called “reinforced proportional representation” system.


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