NEWS

Election game-changer sought

SYRIZA prepares to unveil economic program as polls show leftists neck and neck with New Democracy

Opinion polls Wednesday showed New Democracy and SYRIZA neck and neck for first place at the June 17 elections, as the leftists prepare to unveil their economic program, which could be vital in deciding the outcome of next month?s polls.

A survey by Pulse for To Pontiki weekly had the two parties tied at 24.5 percent. A VPRC poll for Epikaira magazine indicated SYRIZA was leading with 30 percent, ahead of ND on 26.5. A GPO survey for Mega TV gave the conservatives a narrow lead of 23.4 percent over 22.1.

SYRIZA?s hopes of clinching first place could hinge on its economic policies, which leader Alexis Tsipras is set to unveil at a news conference Friday. The leftists denied Wednesday that a leaked document which set out the party?s positions was the framework that Tsipras will present.

The paper suggested that a SYRIZA-led government would immediately cancel the memorandum of understanding with the European Union and International Monetary Fund. The second step would be to repeal the laws applying the measures agreed as part of the loan deal. This would be followed by a bid to renegotiate the bulk of Greece?s debt. The document also suggested the party would call for the nationalization of banks, the scrapping of Greece?s privatization fund and bringing all public enterprises under total state control.

Tsipras spoke to voters in Keratea, southeast of Athens, Wednesday and accused political opponents of scaremongering in a bid to damage SYRIZA. A report by Reuters claimed that Greece?s former interim Prime Minister Lucas Papademos had contacted European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso after the May 6 election to ask him to make a strong statement with regard to Greece?s position in the euro.

Barroso?s response, according to the news agency, was to say, ?If a member of a club does not respect the rules, it?s better that it leaves the club, and this is true for any organization or institution or any project.?

?The biggest enemy and danger for Greece and our people is not our partners but domestic forces that have direct lines to institutional and noninstitutional centers in Brussels,? said the SYRIZA leader. Papademos denied he had asked Barroso or anyone else to make such a statement.

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