ATHENS – With Greeks going to the polls on Jan. 25 for snap elections, the major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) has a 3.1 percent lead, while the KKE Communists have grabbed third place.
SYRIZA got 30.4 percent in the survey taken by Rass for Sunday’s Eleftherotypos newspaper to 27.3 percent for the ruling Conservatives of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who’s party is paying the price for imposing austerity measures on orders of international lenders. SYRIZA had a 3.4 percent lead in a previous poll.
Angry over big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions, worker firings and privatization, Greeks have turned in growing numbers to the far-left, punishing the center-left PASOK Socialists who are partners in Samaras’ coalition.
PASOK, which got 44 percent of the vote in winning the 2009 elections, was lagging in sixth as its leader Evangelos Venizelos – who serves as Samaras’ Deputy Premier/Foreign Minister – is planning to change its name and composition and as its former leader and previous Premier, George Papandreou, has broken away from the party founded by his father to form his own.
Even worse for Venizelos, the poll was taken Dec. 29-30 after Samaras and PASOK failed to get their man elected as Greek President, forcing the snap elections, and before Papandreou announced his party which is packed with PASOK loyalists likely to drain votes from the Socialists.
In fourth is the To Potami (The River) party that was founded this year by former TV journalist Stavros Theodorakis as an antidote to mainstream parties, and got 4.7 percent. Next was the ultra far-right Golden Dawn, all of whose 18 lawmakers have been arrested on charges of running a criminal gang and are awaiting trial.
In the poll, 74.2 percent agreed that Greece must stay in the Eurozone “at all costs,” and 24.1 percent disagreed. That is antithetical to supporting SYRIZA, which has warned it will seek to renegotiate the terms of austerity measures or walk away from the debt, which could push Greece out of the financial bloc.
The survey was conducted on a sample of 1,002 Greeks.