ATHENS : Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras conceded defeat on Sunday after a partial vote count showed opposition conservatives comfortably winning the first parliamentary election since the country emerged from its international bailouts.

The conservatives New Democracy party of Kyriakos Mitsotakis had 39.7 percent of the vote compared to Tsipras's Syriza party with 31.5 percent after nearly 60 percent of the ballots were tallied.

The result was a stinging blow to Tsipras, who had insisted he could overturn a sizable gap in opinion polls running up to the election, which he asked to several months before his term expires in fall.

''The citizens have made their choice. We fully respect the popular vote,'' Tsipras said in his concession speech, adding that he had phoned Mitsotakis to congratulate him.

''I want to assure the Greek people that - we will protect the rights of working people with a responsible but dynamic opposition,'' he said.

''I wish and hope that the return of New democracy to government will not lead to vengeance -particularly toward the significant achievements to protect the social majority and the workers,''  Tsipras continued.

Official projections based on early partial results also showed the extreme rightwing Golden Dawn party teetering on the lower side of a three percent threshold needed to be in the parliament.

Golden Dawn became the third largest party in Parliament during Greece's  financial crisis.

Greece is gradually emerging from the crippling financial crisis that saw unemployment and poverty levels skyrocket and the economy shrink by a quarter.

The country was dependent for survival until last summer three successive bailouts and had to make massive spending cuts and tax hikes to qualify for the rescue loans.  [AP]


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