EU Elections Poll Shows SYRIZA Surge

ATHENS – Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ New Democracy party is starting to slip further behind the major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) in the race for the European Parliament in May 25 elections.

The poll, which was conducted by VPRC for Epikaira magazine, shows SYRIZA with a three percent lead 16.7-13.7 percent as Leftist leader Alexis Tsipras continues to hammer away at the austerity measures Samaras imposed on orders of international lenders, creating record unemployment and deep poverty.

Samaras, whose party has a narrow lead in polls for the May 18 Greek municipality elections, has been flooding the media with taxpayer-funded ads showing he has brought stability and taken the country, in a seven-year recession, to the edge of recovery.

In the EU race, the new populist, anti-political party To Potami (The River), a center-left initiative set up by former TV presenter Stavros Theodorakis, in third at 4.8 percent, with the ultra extreme-right Golden Dawn at 4.3 percent.

Greece’s Communist Party (KKE) is fifth at 4.2 percent, ahead of Independent Greeks in sixth at 3.5 percent. Samaras’ coalition partner the PASOK Socialists – won won the 2009 national elections with 44 percent – are seventh at 3 percent in an alignment with a new center-left group called Elia (Olive Tree.)

The Democratic Left (DIMAR), which served for a time in the coalition before leaving after refusing to back the firing of state workers at the now defunct ERT national broadcaster, are eighth at 17 percent while a resounding 23.9 percent of voters are undecided.

Projected results by VPRC give SYRIZA a 4 percent lead over New Democracy, predicting the Leftists would win by 28-28-24 percent the night of the elections.

To Potami and Golden Dawn would each score 8 percent, with KKE following at 7 percent. Elia and Independent Greeks would each take 5 percent, followed by Democratic Left at 3 percent.