PASOK approval ratings waning

The government has seen its public approval take a big tumble in the three months since it signed a deal with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to obtain 110 billion euros in emergency loans, according to new opinion poll. Conducted by Public Issue on behalf of Sunday’s Kathimerini, the survey shows that the ratings of all Cabinet members have dropped since March. It also indicated that people feel the situation in a wide range of sectors, including unemployment, social security, tourism and public health, has deteriorated over the last few months. There have been improvements in very few sectors. One of these is crime. Of just over 500 people questioned, 36 percent felt that neighborhood policing had improved. Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis, along with Defense Minister Evangelos Venizelos, received the highest ratings in the Cabinet with a score of 6.3 out of 10. However, there is little cause for PASOK to celebrate the ratings of all its other ministers, which have fallen by between 0.7 and 2 points. Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou, who has been a key figure in the adoption of the austerity measures demanded by the EU and IMF, has seen his approval drop to 4.7 out of 10. «The wear and tear the government has suffered is impressive,» writes the head of Public Issue, Yiannis Makris. «Even though it has been just 10 months since it came to power, the figures today are no better than they were for New Democracy last summer.» Prime Minister George Papandreou plans to attempt to cast off the negativity surrounding PASOK starting next month. He intends to present a «new social contract» between the government and the people, along with the announcement of measures aimed at revitalizing the economy.