ATHENS (Reuters) - Angry Greek voters headed to the polls on Sunday for an election shrouded in uncertainty that could reignite Europe's debt crisis and renew doubts about the country's future in the euro zone.At stake in the first general election since the debt crisis exploded at the end of 2009 is whether Greece sticks to the terms of deeply unpopular EU/IMF bailouts which saved it from bankruptcy but propelled it into a deep, protracted recession.
Opinion polls show voters hit by record unemployment and steep wage cuts will send to parliament an unprecedented number of small parties opposed to the austerity and punish New Democracy and the Socialist PASOK - the two parties who have ruled Greece for decades and the only major ones backing the bailouts.
Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. local time (0400 GMT) across Greece and will close at 12:00 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT), with many voters making up their mind at the last minute.
Many flinched and turned their head away at a polling station in the southern Athens suburb of Ilioupoli when asked if they had voted for one of the big parties.
"The big parties' policies are terrible, people are hungry," said Panagiotis, a 46-year old truck driver, after casting his vote for the anti-bailout Left Coalition. "I hope all the small parties are strengthened."
The election could see as many as seven small parties opposed to the bailout enter parliament, raising the possibility that the country which dragged the euro zone into the worst crisis since its creation could veer off the reform track and push the region back into turmoil.