Small parties staking their claim ahead of elections

One of the small parties hoping to claim new political ground in the upcoming elections held its first news conference on Wednesday, as PASOK and New Democracy remained undecided over whether they would welcome back ousted MPs before the polls.

Social Pact, a party formed by former Economy Minister Louka Katseli and her colleague at PASOK, ex-Justice Minister Haris Kastanidis, presented its ideas yesterday, less than a week after its inauguration.

Katseli and Kastanidis explained that the left-wing party wants to cover the ground between the hard left, which is opposed to the terms of the European Union and International Monetary Fund bailout, and the established parties, particularly PASOK, which voted for the loan deal. Katseli, who is the party president, suggested that the savings being demanded by Greece?s lenders could be found through other measures that are less damaging to growth prospects.

Social Pact did not register on a poll conducted by VPRC for Epikaira magazine, which is due to be published today. The survey suggested New Democracy is leading on 22.5 percent with PASOK and the Communist Party (KKE) both on 12.5. The Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) has 12 percent in the poll and Democratic Left follows on 11.5. The new nationalist party, Independent Greeks, garners 11 percent, the neo-fascist Chrysi Avgi 3.5 percent and Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) 3 percent.

Social Pact is likely to look to the opinion poll success of Independent Greeks, formed just a few days earlier, for inspiration. Katseli and Kastanidis said they are confident that their party will garner enough support to pass the 3-percent threshold and make it into Parliament.

PASOK and New Democracy had yet to decide yesterday if they would welcome back some of the MPs ousted after the bailout vote with a view to stemming the momentum being built up by Democratic Left, Independent Greeks and possibly Social Pact.

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