ATHENS – Bringing a lockdown that included closing churches to stem the spread of the dreaded COVID-19 Coronavirus has brought Greek Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis strong support from voters.
The latest monthly poll by the firm Pulse, during which the virus was rapidly spreading throughout the world but was being better held down in Greece, showed New Democracy with a 23-point lead over the major opposition Radical Left SYRIZA.
Leftist leader Alexis Tsipras was ousted by Mitsotakis in July 7, 2019 snap elections and has mostly refrained from going after the Premier during the COVID-19 crisis but did urge more social handouts to the most vulnerable sectors he had essentially abandoned during his 4 1/2-year reign in imposing more austerity.
Some 82 percent of respondents approved Mitsotakis' handling of the crisis – including 78 percent of SYRIZA voters who were supporting their ideological enemy during a time when lives were on the line.
Another 86 percent approved of the partial lockdown while only 10 percent showed any negativity over measures which require people to stay at home except for missions such as food shopping, going to a bank, pharmacy, doctor, hospital or other business deemed essential. Violators are fined 150 euros ($162.17) while businesses declared non-essential that open risk fines up to 5000-50,000 euros ($5405.78-$54,057.75.)
New Democracy had a 45-22 percent gap over SYRIZA, with the fading center-left Movement for Change (KINAL) coalition at 5.5 percent and other parties not really registering with any relevance.
Mitsotakis also had an insurmountable 53-22 percent lead over Tsipras for Greeks preference as Prime Minister, rating the New Democracy leader as being the “most capable” after his party and critics said SYRIZA had been amateurish while ruling over the country.