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Conservatives boosted by polls ahead of May vote

Thirteen days ahead of local elections and 20 days ahead of European Parliament elections, coalition partners New Democracy and PASOK are seeking to galvanize their party base to secure results that will dampen leftist opposition SYRIZA’s calls for a snap national vote.

The coalition is set to complete its term in June 2016, but SYRIZA has threatened to trigger an early vote by blocking the election of a new president early next year.

Over the weekend, ND welcomed two new opinion polls that gave the conservatives a narrow lead over SYRIZA ahead of the Europe-wide ballot.

An MRB poll for Star TV showed ND to have inched forward to 21.9 percent, pushing SYRIZA into second place at 21.3 percent. PASOK’s grouping with other center-left parties, known as Elia, or the Olive Tree, alliance, scored 5.1 percent.

A Metron Analysis poll, commissioned by Ethnos on Sunday newspaper, put ND at 20.6 percent, ahead of SYRIZA’s 20 percent. The Olive Tree platform was at 4.2 percent.

Both polls showed centrist newcomers To Potami in third place at around 8 percent.

Conservative officials hope to further capitalize on the expected launch of talks regarding debt relief at Monday’s Eurogroup summit in Brussels as well as the beginning of the country’s tourist season, which is expected to lift the economy.

Meanwhile, PASOK is struggling to stress the once-dominant party’s political relevance. In an interview Friday, socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos suggested that PASOK is key to the survival of the coalition.

A poor showing for the Olive Tree, Venizelos told The Toc website, “will create problems for the stability, the orientation and the solidity of the government.”

ekathimerini.com , Saturday May 3, 2014 (18:10)  
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