Initial turnout in election seen low among weary Greeks

ATHENS - Early turnout in Greece's election on Sunday appeared to be low, reflecting weariness among an electorate voting in the third nationwide ballot this year.

At midday in central Athens, officials at the ballot table at one polling station told Reuters only 37 out of 530 registered voted had cast votes; at another 51 out of 512 had done so.

Broadcaster ERT, meanwhile, said one polling station in an Athens suburb recorded only 25 voters in the first three hours.

Opinion polls ahead of the ballot suggested former prime minister Alexis Tsipras' leftist Syriza had a small lead over the conservative New Democracy party.

But a tenth or more of the electorate were undecided, with that category weighted more towards Syriza, the polls showed.

Greeks voted in a parliamentary election in January, propelling Tsipras into power, and then again in July in a referendum on whether to accept a new bailout from international lenders along with more austerity.

Although Greeks chose overwhelmingly to reject the bailout, Tsipras was forced to accept a somewhat harsher one or face ejection from the euro zone.

Architect Yannis Tsakalos, 51, said a combination of this and the fact that he felt New Democracy was part of the political system that caused Greece's debt problems, was prompting him to vote for someone else. "Both have failed in my view," he said.

"We saw certified incompetence by Syriza and New Democracy does not deserve being rewarded." Others were unsure it was worth voting at all.

"People are tired, we showed Tsipras how much we were with him at the referendum and then he signed anyway," said Eleni, a hotel receptionist on the island of Kalymnos. "If (the politicians) promise something different and then do the same as the others, why should we vote? We don't know what we're voting for anymore."