NEWS

No cheer for PASOK and ND

Both major political parties indicated concern yesterday that there will be low turnout in next month’s European parliamentary elections, as the latest opinion poll suggested that New Democracy had narrowed the gap on PASOK. The Public Issue survey put the Socialists on 33 percent and ND on 28.5 percent, a 1 percent drop for PASOK and a 0.5 percent rise for the conservatives since a poll earlier this week. The big winners from the apparent shift in support seem to be the Ecologist Greens, who have seen their ratings rise from 7 to 8.5 percent, well above the other minor parties. Support for the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), the Communist Party (KKE) and Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) is running at between 4.5 and 5.5 percent each. With just 11 days to go before the June 7 vote, the Ecologist Greens are set to be the third-largest party in terms of percentage of the popular vote. Also, PASOK’s consistent lead in the polls means that the government is now concerned only about the extent of its defeat rather than whether it will lose. Six in 10 voters are also convinced that PASOK will come out on top in the elections. ND is still some way from reducing the gap to something near 3 percent, which the conservatives believe would be an acceptable margin of defeat. Privately, both New Democracy and PASOK expressed fears that interest in next month’s election had not picked up – 59 percent of respondents said they are not interested in the Euro election. The government fears that this could lead to poor backing from conservative supporters, while the Socialists are concerned that their support might wane before June 7. In light of this, PASOK is due to launch a new advertising campaign today or tomorrow that is to heavily feature leader George Papandreou. ND is hoping that it can still win back support from middle-ground voters via regular appearances at rallies by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.