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New Democracy Still Leads SYRIZA

The "NeaPASOKcratia" government: Prime Minister Antonis Samaras (L) with PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos
The “NeaPASOKcratia” government: Prime Minister Antonis Samaras (L) with PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos

Continuing a trend in recent polls, the ruling New Democracy (ND) party is maintaining a 1 percent point lead over its major opposition rival the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA,) a virtual dead heat given the margin of error. The poll was taken by the agency Public Issue for SKAI TV and Kathimerini.
But the bad news for ND leader and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is that 77 percent of voters aren’t impressed with his recent Cabinet shakeup – which he denied was coming – that brought in ministers from the PASOK Socialist party, that he said he would never work with.
The survey conducted earlier this month puts the conservatives at 28.5 percent and SYRIZA with 27.5 percent, followed by the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party with 11 percent, the fading PASOK Socialists, who are Samaras’ coalition partner, and came in at 8 percent and the Independent Greeks and KKE Communists with 7 percent each.
PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos was named Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister by Samaras after withdrawing his objections to the closing of the national broadcaster ERT and the firing of all its 2,656 workers.
The Democratic Left (DIMAR,) which withdrew from the government’s previous coalition, is paying a heavy price for going against its principles and platform by supporting austerity measures while in the administration, coming in dead last at 3 percent, the threshold needed to win seats in Parliament or vanish.
Only 23 percent of Greeks have a positive view of the recent government reshuffle, the poll found, although 47 percent of ND supporters saw the shake-up in a positive light. The figure for PASOK voters was even lower at 41 percent.
DIMAR chief Fotis Kouvelis also lost support in the wake of his party’s pull-out. His approval ratings fell 8 percent, to 34 percent. Samaras is still the most popular politician with a rating of 39 percent although he is continuing to impose austerity measures after saying he wouldn’t. That figure, however, showed a 3 percent drop.
SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, who is overseeing his party’s first Congress this week to little coverage and trying to unify its wildly diverse base of Communists, anarchists, Trotskyites, Maoists and ecologists, is a close second though at 36 percent.
Some 65 percent of respondents said they don’t want early elections although they also don’t like the current ND-PASOK government. About 60 percent believe the coalition will finish the term up to the next scheduled elections in 2016, although it’s unclear if they will remain a permanent coalition or run against each other and attack each other’s record while working together.
According to the survey, most Greeks do not believe that the debt-hit nation is set for recovery. Slightly more than 60 percent said they expect their personal finances to worsen. A total 75 percent said they expect unemployment, which rose to 27.4 percent in the first quarter of 2013, to rise further.
People’s view of the euro is almost unchanged, the poll found, with 55 percent having a positive opinion. It was the same level as previous months but well below February’s 70 percent.
Inspectors from the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund troika completed their latest review of Greece’s bailout this week, allowing euro area finance ministers to approve 6.8 billion euros in aid.

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