NEWS

PASOK worse off than four years ago

Respondents to a recent opinion poll survey consider the ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) too riven by internal crisis and too dependent on business interests. On the other hand, the survey shows that, after being in power for 18 of the last 22 years, including the last 10 in a row, the ruling Socialists are still considered better adapted to present-day realities, with more competent personnel, more oriented toward Europe and, especially, with a better leader than the main opposition party, conservative New Democracy. With seven months, at most, before national elections, PASOK has been trailing New Democracy by at least 6.1 percentage points, according to the latest polls. This despite the announcement of measures in favor of lower-income earners in September. Yiannis Mavris, the head of V-PRC, the company which conducted the latest poll, writes in the Sunday edition of Kathimerini that PASOK is in a far worse position now than in the last election, held in April 2000, when it came from behind at the polls to score a narrow victory over New Democracy (43.79 percent to 42.74 percent). He says a number of indicators about the country’s direction, expectations of future employment, inflation and personal finances are definitely unfavorable now. The most telling of these indicators, whether the respondents feel secure about the future, shows that, four years ago, those who did outnumbered those who did not, by 56 to 30 percent, whereas now this has been reversed. Now, 77 percent of the respondents feel uncertain about the future, as against only 21 percent who feel the opposite. Four years ago, the Athens Stock Exchange was at the peak of its bull run, which explains to a large extent the darkening of the mood. It was also true, however, that, even then, 61 percent were disappointed with the government versus 36 percent who were satisfied. Nowadays the numbers are even worse: 75 percent dissatisfied versus 23 percent satisfied. But, as with every poll, there is something for everybody in the results. Sixty-nine percent were dissatisfied with the opposition and only 26 percent satisfied.