Little more than four years after winning the Prime Minister’s office with 44 percent of the vote, the PASOK Socialists who are partners in Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ New Democracy Conservative government are on the edge of extinction with a poll showing they have fallen to 3.8 percent support.
Its popularity destroyed after backing harsh austerity measures being imposed on the orders of international lenders, PASOK is floundering so badly it might not win any seats in the next national elections which getting 3 percent of the vote.
PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, who was given the position of Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Ministers after supporting big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and the firing of public workers is being pressed to align the party with other center-left alliances for the May elections for Greek municipalities and the European Parliament.
Unless he had agreed to join a coalition with New Democracy to give the government a slim three-vote majority in the Parliament, PASOK would be marginalized.
After rejecting a collaboration with the new movement The 58 Initiative, also known as the Olive Tree, Venizelos said he wants to stand with it in the elections as PASOK is having trouble finding candidates for office because the party has soured.
Venizelos is so desperate the newspaper Kathimerini, citing unnamed sources, said he’s even reaching out to people still loyal to the party’s former leader and previous Premier, George Papandreou, who was hounded out of office in 2011 by protests, strikes and riots against his leadership.
He resigned and turned the party over to Venizelos, who has driven it to record lows and can’t find candidates of any stature to run under the PASOK name as many have left.
PASOK is in such disarray and panic that it’s already far behind a new party, To Potami (The River) formed by former TV presenter Stavros Theodorakis which isn’t even organized yet, doesn’t have a leader or a single candidate and yet whose appeal for an anti-politician stance has given it 5. 7 percent support, according to the survey conducted by Alco for the NewsIt website.
The Alco survey indicated that much of the party’s support was drawn from the left and center-left that was once PASOK’s stronghold. Nearly 13 percent of those who said they would vote for Potami previously supported Democratic Left, 8.1 percent PASOK and 7.7 percent SYRIZA. PASOK is also far behind the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, whose leaders have been jailed or arrested on charges of running a criminal gang, but remain third.
The major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) has taken a narrow lead over New Democracy in the most recent survey and its leader, Alexis Tsipras, said the ruling parties will be repudiated, forcing national elections before its term ends in 2016 and he will come to power.
He said he would renege or revise the terms of two bailouts of $325 billion from the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) although that would leave Greece broke and unable to borrow from the markets either, just as Samaras has predicted the beginning of an economic recovery this year.