The pro-bailout New Democracy party came in first on Sunday in Greece's national election, and its leader has proposed forming a pro-euro coalition government.
New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras says "the Greek people today voted for Greece to remain on its European path and in the eurozone." He says voters chose "policies that will bring jobs, growth, justice and security". His party beat the anti-bailout Syriza party, which wanted to cancel Greece's international bailouts. Syriza chief Alexis Tsipras has conceded the election.
Greeks fed up with austerity voted on Sunday in elections that could decide their future in the eurozone amid unprecedented external pressure not to vote for a radical leftist party.
Some 9.8 million Greeks began voting in a showdown between the conservative New Democracy party and the anti-austerity Syriza party that has spooked European leaders and the markets. Earlier, Tsipras said his side would win and Greece would keep its place as an equal member in a changing Europe.
Greek newspapers said the vote was the most critical since the end of military rule in 1974, as conservative chief Samaras argued that a new era would begin for the recession-hit eurozone state on Monday.
"Today the Greek people speak. Tomorrow a new era starts for Greece," Samaras said in his hometown of Pylos in the southern Peloponnese peninsula.
The To Vima weekly spoke of a "salvation ballot", warning of a visible danger that Greece will leave the eurozone. "A vote on the euro, Greece in its most critical electoral confrontation," was the frontpage headline in the Ethnos daily.
"This moment is very critical. This is an election that makes people very, very anxious," said 62-yearold pensioner Andreas Pappas after casting his ballot at an elementary school in central Athens.
With inputs from agencies