Update 3 - Hope for the eurozone as Greek right wins election
The pro-euro conservative New Democracy Party appears to have won the general election in Greece, seen as critical for the country to stay in the eurozone.
With 40% of the votes counted, New Democracy won 30.38% of the vote compared to 26% for the left-wing anti-austerity Syriza party.
The outcome of today's vote could determine whether Greece remains in the euro or is forced to leave the joint currency, a move which could drag down other European countries and have unforeseen consequences for the global economy.
Whichever party comes first gets a bonus of 50 seats in the 300-member Parliament.
Syriza head Alexis Tsipras has vowed to cancel the terms of Greece's international bailout deal and repeal its austerity measures - a move many think will force Greece to leave the eurozone.
New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras says his top priority is to stay in the euro but renegotiate some terms of the bailout.
New Democracy is expected to seek a coalition with old rival Pasok - which appeared to have won 13.5% - to form a government. However Pasok may opt to back New Democracy in a confidence vote, without actually joining it in a coalition. The Democratic Left, which won 6.6% may also be in the coalition.
As central banks stood ready to intervene in case of financial turmoil, Greece held its second national election in just six weeks to try to select a new government after an inconclusive ballot on May 6.
The two parties vying to win have starkly different views about what to do about the 240 billion euro in bailout loans that Greece has been given by international lenders. One wants to tear up the deals and void the harsh austerity measures demanded by lenders that have caused Greek living standards to plummet. The other backs the bailout deal but wants to amend it.
The choice - the most critical in decades - could determine whether Greece abandons the joint euro currency and returns to its old currency, the drachma. But there are no rules governing a country's exit from the eurozone, and a Greek exit could spark a panic that other debt-strapped European nations - Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Italy- might also have to leave.
That domino scenario - known in economic terms as contagion - could engulf the euro, causing a global financial panic not unlike the one that gripped the world in 2008 after the investment firm Lehman Brothers failed in the US.
See possible impact on Malta at: http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20120606/local/Fears-over-Malta-banks-debt-risk-as-Greek-economy-is-hit.422963