NEWS

PASOK builds commanding lead in poll

With just 48 hours to go before Greeks vote in the European parliamentary elections, the final survey carried out by Public Issue for Kathimerini ahead of Sunday’s polling indicates that PASOK has increased its lead over New Democracy to 5 percent. According to the opinion poll results, PASOK will garner 37 percent of the votes, compared to 32 percent for ND. This represents an increase of 1.5 percent in support for the Socialists from the previous survey. Public Issue has now conducted seven opinion polls over the last few weeks and a survey last week, suggesting that the Socialists had opened up a 6 percent lead, showed the biggest gap between the two parties. However, by the next poll, this difference had narrowed to 3.5 percent. The latest poll also has the Communist Party and the Ecologist Greens tied in third place on 7 percent, followed by the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) on 6 and the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) on 5. According to the new survey, PASOK would send eight MEPs to the European Parliament, ND seven, two each for the Ecologist Greens, the Communists and SYRIZA and just one for LAOS. PASOK’s lead appears to a large extent to derive from its ability, more than any other party, to convince its supporters to turn out and vote for it on Sunday: 72.5 percent of PASOK voters said they intend to cast their ballots for the party. In comparison, just 56.5 percent of conservative supporters said they will vote for ND. The socialist party also appears to garner more support than ND in all the age groups, apart from voters aged over 65, where the conservatives have the upper hand. The government and PASOK yesterday continued their squabble over the Siemens bribery scandal. «The Siemens case is a PASOK scandal,» said government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros. «We would have learned if it was a PASOK scandal if we had held an investigation in Parliament,» responded PASOK spokesman and European Parliament candidate Giorgos Papaconstantinou, referring to the government’s rejection of PASOK’s calls for the House to set up an investigative committee. PASOK leader George Papandreou rounded off his campaign with a speech at Pedion tou Areos Park in central Athens last night. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is due to speak there tonight.