Poll shows PASOK still behind

PASOK leader George Papandreou named his shadow cabinet yesterday as a new opinion poll indicated that his party is still trailing New Democracy by 6.5 percent in terms of popularity. The Public Issue survey, conducted for Kathimerini and Skai TV and Radio, put the ruling conservatives ahead on 37 percent and PASOK on 30.5 percent. For both parties, this represented a 0.5 percent drop in popularity from the previous month. The Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) continued to have an impressive showing, with support of 18 percent making it the third party. The Communist Party garnered 7 percent and the nationalist Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) 4.5 percent. Significantly, if these percentages were translated into seats in Parliament, no party would have enough MPs to form a government on its own. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis remains the most popular choice for the post of premier with 39 percent of the 1,005 respondents backing him. Papandreou gained 16 percent and SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras 13 percent. Rather worryingly for Papandreou, the respondents felt that PASOK was the weakest of the four opposition parties in providing resistance to the government. The Socialists gained only 11 percent support, compared to 37 percent for SYRIZA, which was deemed the most effective opposition party. Papandreou named his shadow cabinet yesterday in what he hopes is another step along the way toward making a comeback in the opinion polls. There were no great surprises in his appointments, apart from naming first-time Athens MP and economist Louka Katseli as the party’s shadow economy and finance minister. PASOK’s shadow cabinet is an informal body that does not actually meet but which appoints certain members to act as party spokespersons on issues that fall within their field. Papandreou also reserved a spot for his main leadership rival Evangelos Venizelos as one of PASOK’s three parliamentary spokesmen.

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