Many Greeks undecided as campaigns intensify ahead of polls

Many Greeks undecided as campaigns intensify ahead of polls

With just two weeks to go before the second general elections this year, parties have ratcheted up their campaigns but a rash of opinion polls suggest that at least 10 percent of Greeks remain undecided about how to vote, while leftist SYRIZA is struggling to secure the level of support that brought it to power in January.

Leaders of all the main political parties were campaigning over the weekend, intensifying their rhetoric ahead of a televised debate on Wednesday during which they will have a chance to spar. The leaders of all parties represented in Parliament, bar neofascist Golden Dawn’s Nikos Michaloliakos, are to participate. The debate will be followed next Monday by a face-to-face debate featuring SYRIZA leader and former premier Alexis Tsipras and the head of conservative New Democracy, Vangelis Meimarakis.

A key concern in the ranks of SYRIZA is the apparent alienation of many Greeks who backed the party’s anti-austerity message before the January elections. Tsipras’s capitulation to the country’s international creditors and his eventual signing of Greece’s third memorandum has dealt a serious blow to SYRIZA’s support, as reflected in opinion polls which indicate that only around 60 percent who backed the party in January intend to do so again on September 20.

New Democracy appears to have done a better job at rallying support with around 80 percent of voters expected to back the conservatives again in this month’s polls.

The possible migration of voters from the smaller groupings, such as centrist To Potami, to the larger parties, as well as the behavior of those who remain undecided will be decisive in determining the outcome of the elections. At the end of last week six cadres of To Potami expressed their support for ND.

ND’s Meimarakis has indicated that he is prepared to work with other political forces, even with SYRIZA. Tsipras has ruled out a cooperation with ND but has indicated that an alliance with smaller parties such as PASOK could be possible though he has stressed that individuals associated with corruption scandals linked to the party should be excluded. SYRIZA’s campaign video calls on Greeks to “do away with the old.”

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