Greek voters punish old guard, turn to the right

The leader of the conservative New Democracy party Antonis Samaras arrives at party headquarters in Athens on May 6, 2012, after the first results of the Greek general elections. Greek voters dealt a blow to eurozone hopes that Athens will stick to its austerity commitments as parties opposing more cuts, including neo-Nazis, won almost 60-percent support in an election on May 6. According to updated exit polls, the two main parties suffered heavy losses, with New Democracy and the left-wing Pasok getting just 32.0 to 34.5 percent between them, down from 77.4 percent at the last polls in 2009.

(CBS/AP) ATHENS, Greece - The heads of the two parties projected to earn the most votes in Greece's election have called for changes in the country's international bailout terms, with one seeking to re-negotiate the deal and the other to overturn it.

Updated official projections Sunday show conservative New Democracy head Antonis Samaras leading with 18.9 percent and 108 seats in the 300-member parliament, far less than the 151 needed to form a government. Leftist Syriza head Alexis Tsipras was second with 16.8 percent and 51 seats, while the former majority PASOK was projected third with 13.4 percent and 41 seats.

Samaras called for a coalition government with two aims: for Greece to remain in the euro and to amend the terms of its international bailout. Tsipras called for the overturning of the bailout.

Meanwhile, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, the leader of an extreme-right, anti-immigrant party called Golden Dawn, is on course for shock success in Greece's general elections. Michaloliakos lashed out at those he described as "traitors" responsible for the country's financial crisis and said his party was ushering in a "revolution."

The far-right Golden Dawn party is set to win 7 percent of the parliamentary vote, according to early projections, as Greeks punished the traditionally dominant parties who backed harsh austerity measures tied to debt-relief agreements.

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Parties must exceed a 3-percent threshold of the vote to be represented in Greece's parliament. In the last general election in 2009, Golden Dawn received merely 0.29 percent. It has seen its support jump as a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment has spread in financially devastated Greece.

Michaloliakos told The Associated Press in an interview that his party had delivered a blow against the country's corrupt leadership.

"They slandered us, slung mud at us, and shut us out of all the news media -- the TV channels of the corrupt elite -- and we beat them," the 55-year-old leader said as the votes came in. "The day of national revolution by the Greeks has begun against those who are selling us out and looting the sweat of the Greek people."

Golden Dawn campaigned hard against illegal immigration, and its supporters have been blamed for a recent spike in inner-city street attacks against mostly Asian immigrants.

The party's supporters, routinely seen intimidating dark-skinned immigrants in run-down parts of the capital, wear black shirts, and its emblems resemble Nazi insignia. But Michaloliakos has rejected the neo-Nazi label widely used for his party, stressing that it is staunchly nationalist.

Referring to immigrants, Golden Dawn's campaign slogan in television ads was "let's rid this country of the stench."

Amidst the turn to the right, Greece's former finance minister and Socialist party leader called for a broad coalition government of pro-European parties, ruling out a two-party government with his conservative rivals after his party received a drubbing in Sunday's parliamentary elections.

Official projected results showed Evangelos Venizelos' PASOK party plunging to third.

"A coalition government of the old two-party system would not have sufficient legitimacy or sufficient domestic and international credibility if it would gather a slim majority," Venizelos said. "A government of national unity with the participation by all the parties that favor a European course, regardless of their positions toward the loan agreements, would have meaning."

If borne out by final results, the outcome is devastating for PASOK, which won a landslide victory in 2009 with more than 43 percent of the vote.

Voters outraged by Greece's protracted financial crisis and the austerity measures imposed in return for international bailouts punished both main parties, turning to smaller anti-bailout groups instead. The leftist Syriza, which was projected in second place with 16.3 percent and 50 seats, has been strongly opposed to Greece's bailout agreements.

"For us in PASOK, today is particularly painful," Venizelos said. "We knew the price would be heavy and we had undertaken for a long time to bear it."