(ANSA-AP) - ATHENS, Greece — Exit polls in Greece's general election indicate conservative opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis has won a comfortable victory over left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. The exit polls from Sunday's election predicted Mitsotakis' New Democracy party would win enough seats in Greece's 300-member parliament to form a government without needing to enter a coalition with another party. The vote was Greece's first parliamentary election since the country emerged from three successive international bailouts and as it continues to struggle from a crippling financial crisis of nearly a decade. ___ 7:00 a.m. Greeks have begun voting in the first parliamentary election since their country emerged from three successive international bailouts. The vote is held three months earlier than originally planned after left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras saw his support erode during European elections. Opinion polls suggest Greeks are set to defy the recent European trend of increasing support for populist parties, with conservative opposition party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis a clear favorite to win. Sunday's vote comes as the country gradually emerges from a brutal nearly decade-long financial crisis that saw unemployment and poverty levels skyrocket, and Greece's economy slashed by a quarter. Greece was dependent for survival until last summer on international bailouts, and had to impose deep reforms, including massive spending cuts and tax hikes, to qualify for the rescue loans.

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