ATHENS – Under new leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the New Democracy Conservatives are pulling away fast from the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA in a survey.
The opinion poll gave New Democracy a 5.5 percent lead over Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ party, a stunning turnaround after the Leftists twice clocked the Conservatives last year when they were led by then-Premier Antonis Samaras and then interim leader Evangelos Meimarakis.
The poll, carried out by the firm Pulse for Action 24 television channel, found that 27.5 percent of respondents would vote for ND if general elections were to be held now with 22 percent backing for SYRIZA after Tsipras reneged on campaign promises to reverse austerity and instead relented to demands of international lenders.
The ultra-far-right super-extremists of Golden Dawn, whose leaders and dozens of members are stuck in a long-stalled trial on charges of running a criminal gang are tied for third with the Communists and the once-dominant PASOK Socialists at 6 percent.
The Union of Centrists, who are now in Parliament, and the SYRIZA castaway dissidents of Popular Unity, who are not, each are polling at 2.5 percent, below the 3 percent threshold needed to enter the body if new elections are held as Mitsotakis is demanding with Greece locked in stalled talks with its creditors.
The once-surging To Potami centrists and Tsipras’ coalition partner, the pro-austerity far-right Independent Greeks (ANEL) have fallen out of favor and are at only 2 percent, now irrelevant.
Asked who would make a better prime minister, 30 percent backed Mitsotakis with 23 percent for Tsipras but 42 percent said they didn’t want either.