Parties brace for Euro elections

New Democracy and PASOK named their candidates yesterday for the upcoming European parliamentary elections but the latest opinion poll for Sunday’s Kathimerini suggests that they could have a tough task on their hands attracting voters’ interest as almost one in 10 Greeks is not intending to cast a ballot on June 7. As expected, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis chose former Education Minister Marietta Giannakou to head the ND list of 22 candidates for next month’s poll. PASOK leader George Papandreou did not spring any surprises either as he placed the party’s current spokesman, Giorgos Papaconstantinou, at the head of the Socialists’ ticket. Karamanlis is hoping that Giannakou, who was replaced as minister in 2007 after her reforms in the tertiary education sector failed to meet with widespread approval, still has appeal among the conservative grassroots that he wants to court in a bid to ensure that there is a high turnout of ND voters on June 7. The latest opinion poll conducted by Public Issue for Sunday’s Kathimerini does not make encouraging reading for Karamanlis and Giannakou as it suggests that support for ND is running at just 21 percent – 5.5 percent behind PASOK. What might be of more concern to the government, though, is that there seems to be a substantial lack of interest in the Euro elections. The results of yesterday’s survey indicated that six in 10 voters are not interested in next month’s poll. According to the poll, 9.5 percent of 1,001 respondents say that they have no intention of voting next month. Over the last decade, Euro elections have attracted a lower voter turnout. In 2004 more than 7.5 million people voted in the general elections and just over 6.2 million cast their ballots in the European poll the same year.