Current Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had promised to form an anti-bailout government, but disappointed many of his supporters by imposing more austerity measures and extra taxes, as well as by signing onto a name-change agreement with Greece's neighbor North Macedonia. Tsipras's party will have 86 seats. "People believed in their program despite it being vague".
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called the vote three months earlier than originally planned after his left-wing Syriza party suffered a stinging defeat in European and local elections in May and early June.
"I wish and hope that the return of New Democracy to government will not lead to vengeance. particularly toward the significant achievements to protect the social majority and the workers", Tsipras continued.
"Greece is exiting 10 years of crisis and the new government will have the heavy task to give a chance to the country to recover completely or to sink", 36-year-old Aphrodite told AFP, as she cast her vote in the bohemian downtown neighborhood of Exarcheia.
Exit polls have shown a "clear victory" for opposition New Democracy in Greek general elections, a senior official for the ruling leftist Syriza party said on Sunday.
Early results also predicted that the far-right Golden Dawn party is short of the 3 percent minimum needed to enter parliament by the narrowest of margins - at 2.99 percent for now.
"It's a crucial battle, we fight it with optimism, we fight it with determination until the last minute", Tsipras said after casting his ballot in central Athens in the morning.
SYRIZA asked voters for a new mandate without the restraints of the bailouts, pledging to reverse the impact of the debt crisis.
The vote was Greece's first parliamentary election since the country emerged from three successive worldwide bailouts and as it continues to struggle from a crippling financial crisis of almost a decade.
Yet within months, he was forced to accept tough conditions in return for Greece's third worldwide bailout.
But after months of tumultuous negotiations with global creditors that saw Greece almost crash out of the European Union's joint currency, he was forced to change tack, signing up to a third bailout and imposing the accompanying spending cuts and tax hikes.
The potential new prime minister comes from one of Greece's long-standing political dynasties.
He pledged to make Greece more business-friendly, attract foreign investment, to modernise the country's notorious bureaucracy and to cut taxes.