Uncertainty envelops elections

A new poll conducted on behalf of Kathimerini and Skai TV indicates that Greece?s political landscape continues to be fragmented and that PASOK and New Democracy could struggle to get enough seats in Parliament to form a coalition government, should they be able to agree on some form of cooperation.

The survey shows a slight rise in support for New Democracy compared to a survey conducted at the beginning of April but the conservatives remain far short of the outright majority their leader, Antonis Samaras, insists the party can achieve in the May elections.

New Democracy?s support rose 2.5 percent to 21.5, while backing for PASOK remained stable at 14 percent. There was little change among the other parties, with the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) in third place on 13 percent, followed by the Communist Party (KKE) and the nationalist Independent Greeks with 11 percent.

Democratic Left, the more moderate of the three main leftist parties, saw its support dip by 2.5 percent to 9.5 percent. The party led by Fotis Kouvelis, who continues to enjoy the highest approval ratings of any political leader (52 percent), has seen its poll percentage drop gradually since February, when it ranked the second most popular of all the parties.

The Public Issue poll also indicated that the neofascist Chrysi Avgi would comfortably gain enough votes to enter Parliament. The survey forecasts the extremist group garnering 5.5 percent. Two other parties are also seen passing the 3 percent threshold for Parliament: the Ecologist Greens and Popular Orthodox Rally.

The electoral law that will apply on May 6 means that the first party will gain an extra 50 parliamentary seats. This means that New Democracy would gain between 104 and 112 seats while PASOK would garner just 34 to 42 places in Parliament. This means that in the best-case scenario, the two main parties would have a combined total of 154 seats. The possibility that they would need a third partner for a coalition government remains quite likely.

Speaking to journalists Friday, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos insisted the Socialists could surge ahead over the next two weeks and take the lead at the ballot box. Venizelos says this is more likely than New Democracy gaining an outright majority. Opinion polls are banned in the last two weeks of the campaign.