NEWS

Going into final stretch, SYRIZA builds poll lead

In the last opinion poll to be published by Kathimerini before the June 17 elections, leftist SYRIZA maintains a clear lead over New Democracy, although short of enough support for a clear parliamentary majority.

According to the Public Issue survey, SYRIZA garners 31.5 percent of the vote, 1.5 more than just a week ago. Support for New Democracy is largely unchanged at 25.5. PASOK has lost 2 percent and falls to 13.5. It is followed by Democratic Left (DIMAR) on 7.5 percent and the weakening Independent Greeks on 5.5. The Communist Party (KKE) also has 5.5 percent, while the neo-Nazi Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) has fallen to 4.5 percent. The liberal alliance of Dimiourgia Xana (Recreate Greece) and Drasi attracts 2.5 percent.

In terms of parliamentary seats, this translates into 134 for SYRIZA, 68 for New Democracy, 36 for PASOK, 20 for DIMAR, 15 for KKE, 15 for Independent Greeks and 12 for Chrysi Avgi. Most would fall slightly if the liberals reach the 3 percent parliamentary threshold.

Most Greeks, however, are not convinced that SYRIZA will win. The poll indicates that 58 percent believes ND will come first and only 34 percent see the leftists triumphing.

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras trails DIMAR chief Fotis Kouvelis as the most popular party head. Kouvelis has an approval rating of 67 percent, while Tsipras?s is at 49 percent.

Tsipras is due to present his economic program at noon on Friday. Speaking to Skai TV on Thursday, a member of the party?s economic team, Giorgos Stathakis, insisted that the next government would not run out of money soon despite fears that the European Union and International Monetary Fund may stop loans to Athens. ?There is enough money for pensions and wages. A shortage of liquidity will only arise in the last two months of the year,? he said. ?I think we will have a solution by then.?

SYRIZA intends to repudiate Greece?s loan deal with the European Union and International Monetary Fund and wants to negotiate a new deal with the country?s lenders. The Public Issue poll indicated that 62 percent of Greeks are against the European Union-International Monetary Fund loan agreement and 85 percent are in favor of Greece remaining in the euro.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said that the Washington-based fund is willing to listen to ?any new ideas? that the next Greek government has with respect to how the fiscal targets agreed as part of the bailout can be achieved more effectively.

Rice also said IMF managing director, Christine Lagarde, regretted recent remarks concerning tax evasion by Greeks and comparing their suffering to children in Niger. ?She regrets her remarks were misunderstood and caused offense, that was not her intention.?

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