Agamemnon 07 Mar 2004 Greek election exit polls: conservatives ahead BRIAN MURPHY, Associated Press Writer Sunday, March 7, 2004 Greece's conservatives held the edge Sunday in their effort to reclaim power after 10 years and assume the massive responsibility of turning around troubled preparations for the Olympics. Various exit polls carried by private and state-run television gave the New Democracy party roughly a 5 percent lead over the Socialists. All exit polls had a margin of error of plus or minus 1.5 percent. The first partial returns were not yet released. But the conservatives began celebrating on the strength of the figures, and some leading Socialists said the outcome looked bleak. "It's too early to tell ... The estimation so far is a clear defeat," said Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, the government's chief Olympic planner. The elections for the 300-seat parliament put voters at a clear crossroads: Stick with the decade-old Socialist establishment or turn to the inexperienced conservatives. The conservative New Democracy party had been consistently ahead in opinion polls with the Socialists widely perceived as rife with corruption, inefficiency and political arrogance after leading the country for all but three years since 1981. The Socialists began to claw back last month by turning to their roots and handing the leadership over to popular former foreign minister, George Papandreou, the American-born son of the party's charismatic founder. A win for the Socialists would deepen the party's dominance over Greek affairs and extend the political dynasty of the Papandreou family to a third generation. For New Democracy, which governed from 1990-93, the election is seen as a referendum on its relevance. Victory would show important changes in Greek attitudes, which have been heavily influenced in favor of the left since the collapse of the 1964-74 military dictatorship. -- Letter writing campaign in protest of Annans unethical and unjust plan: http://www.enthymia.co.uk/GenocidePlan.htm Analysis of the unethical Annan Plan http://www.enthymia.co.uk/annanplan/ Please sign the petition at: www.greece.org/themis/cyprus/annan/ then: ask your family, organizations, church, community to collect signatures as per http://www.greece.org/themis/cyprus/annan/paperpet.htm and ender them into the petition.