Greece is to hold its first election since the start of the debt crisis on May 6, according to a senior government source.

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos is expected to meet with President Karolos Papoulias later Wednesday to dissolve parliament and set a date for watershed elections, the BBC reported, which are set to test Greek resolve for punishing austerity measures.

The election comes at a time of growing resentment for the technocratic government's tough economic policies, with polls suggesting the coalition's conservative New Democracy and socialist Pasok parties could lose ground to anti-austerity fringe politicians.

The prospect of a splintered parliament incapable or unwilling of following the current regime of tough economic measures will further spook markets already wary of Greece's ability to adequately manage its crippling national debts.

The news comes a day after a strike by Greek ferry workers on Tuesday left thousands of tourists stranded on outlying islands during one of the busiest times for holidaymakers.

The 48-hour strike comes in spite of pleas from business leaders and politicians not to disrupt Greece's vital tourism sector, an industry that employs one in five workers. Greece, with more than 200 inhabited islands, depends heavily on ferries.

Papademos' government was elected to steer the country through its first €110 billion International Monetary Fund/European Union bailout and secure last month's second €130 billion life line.

Greece is battling to tackle its debts, estimated to reach 125 percent of GDP this year, while its economy continues to shrink at an alarming rate.