Ruling conservative New Democracy (ND) is forecast to hover at roughly 29.5% of the vote in Sunday’s European Parliament election, according to a joint exit poll released by Greek media.

The party of incumbent Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis picked up 33.12% in the last European Parliament election in May 2019, when it was still in the main opposition.

Leftist SYRIZA is forecast at about 16.3%, followed by PASOK (12.1%), while a trio of populist right-wing parties posted notable gains, with the Greek Solution (Elliniki Lysi) party projected at 8.5%; Niki 4% and the newly formed Foni tis Logikis (Voice of Reason) the big surprise of the evening, reaching up to 3.9% but also possibly remaining below 3% needed for representation in Brussels.

SYRIZA’s tally, although down from 23.75% in 2019, comes after an internal party split last autumn and the stepping down of former prime minister Alexis Tspiras from its helm. Newcomer Stefanos Kasselakis, an expatriate from the United States, has steered the party away from a radical left direction to posture itself as a virulently anti-ND and anti-Mitsotakis alternative.

On the other side of the political spectrum, the Communist Party (KKE) is forecast at 9%, coming in fourth, while the abstention was recorded at around 68%, a negative record.

PASOK’s tally more-or-less fell within opinion poll forecasts, thus failing to serve as a “breakthrough” and remaining behind SYRIZA.

The range (average) from the exit poll:

– SYRIZA, which gathers between 15.2% and 18.2% (average 16.7%), which would mean it elects four MEPs
– PASOK, between 10.9% and 13.9% (average 12.4%) and three MEPs
– KKE, between 7.9% and 10.3% (average 9.1%) and two MEPs
– Greek Solution, between 7.6% and 10% (average 8.8%) and two MEPs
– NIKI, between 2.9% and 4.9% (average 3.9%) and two MEPs
– Course of Freedom, between 2.6% and 4.6% (average 3.6%) and one MEP
– MeRA25, between 2% and 3.4% (average 2.7%), remains uncertain if it will elect one MEP
– Voice of Reason, between 2.2% and 3.6% (average 2.9%), remains uncertain if it will elect one MEP

The election marked the first time that postal voting was in effect for a Greek election.