NEWS

Support for two main parties plummets to new depths

Support for Greece?s two main political parties, PASOK and New Democracy, has dropped to levels not seen for a number of years, with the ruling Socialists suffering the brunt of the backlash from unpopular austerity measures, according to a new opinion poll.

The Public Issue survey for Sunday?s Kathimerini indicates that only 27 percent of voters still back PASO, which is 17 percent lower than the support the party gathered in the November 2009 general elections.

In fact, PASOK has dropped below New Democracy, which now leads the polls with 31 percent support. However, this also represents a drop of 2.5 percent from the support for the conservatives in the last elections, which was the party?s poorest ever showing at the polls.

Significantly, if this result was replicated in parliamentary elections, ND would not have enough seats to form a government on its own.

In fact, the Public Issue poll indicates that apart from the Communist Party (KKE), Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) and Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), which already have seats in Parliament, the Ecologist Greens and Democratic Left would also pass the 3-percent threshold to enter the House. The survey indicates that Dora Bakoyannis?s Democratic Alliance, would be 0.5 percent short.

Another indication of the heavy cost being paid by the government for its handling of the economy is the rapid decline in popularity of Prime Minister George Papandreou, whose approval rating has dropped to 23 percent, exactly the same as ND leader Antonis Samaras.

An overwhelming majority (87 percent) of those questioned said they believe that Greece is heading in the wrong direction and a similar percentage said they are unhappy with the standard of democracy and the quality of their lives.

According to Yiannis Mavris, Public Issue?s managing director, one of the way in which this unhappiness is manifesting itself is in people protesting against the country?s political system as a whole. The Indignant protests in Athens, Thessaloniki and other cities, where thousands of people have gathered every day for more than two weeks is a sign of this.

?Society?s rejection of the party?s of governance and the current generation of politicians is leading to widespread social mobilization,? he said. ?Last month, social participation in all kinds of events and forms of protest more than doubled from 12 to 25 percent, which equates to about 2.2 million citizens.?

The biggest Indignant protests in Athens have been on the past two Sundays, when it was estimated that crowds exceeded 100,000 people. A similar protest is expected in Athens this Sunday.