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Politics

New Democracy Holds Still-Commanding Lead Over SYRIZA

September 25, 2020

ATHENS – Constant sniping at the ruling New Democracy government which deposed him in July 7, 2019 snap elections hasn't helped the newly-renamed SYRIZA Progressive Alliance cut into the Conservatives runaway lead.

The latest survey by the firm Pulse for SKAI TV gave New Democracy a 16.5 percent lead, 39.5-23 percent, although its support has fallen two percent from the company's previous poll.

Sixty percent of those survey said they support Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' dealing with provocations from Turkey, which had brought them to near-conflict levels, satisfied he's been able to stave that off.

A big majority also agrees with the way he's handled the COVID-19 pandemic although after a March lockdown garnered international plaudits and held down the number of cases and deaths he's been reluctant to do it again even as a second wave is resurging.

Mitsotakis said he's trying to balance saving lives against preventing a further near-collapse of an economy crushed by the earlier closing of non-essential businesses and after disappointing tourism numbers when the country opened to foreign visitors in July. 

Earlier in September, Tsipras blamed the government for "mistakes, oversights, lack of planning and an unacceptable attempt to gain politically from the pandemic," without explaining what that meant.

"Government propaganda has been hiding, underestimating and distorting reality," he continued, "as the country experiences unprecedented insecurity and uncertainty. Every Greek family lives in agony and insecurity, that cannot be masked by propaganda, political expediency and the ridiculous beautification of reality," he noted.

He pointed out that Greece now observes "almost a hundred times more cases than when the end of the lockdown was announced, and Greek citizens now called to face the new wave of the pandemic, which is tougher than the first one."

He told Mitsotakis that "people want to hear the truth, no matter how unpleasant it is, and they want to see you take some responsibility (…), not to be blamed by the government for everything that is wrong in the pandemic, while the government keeps praise of people's sacrifices for political exploitation."

He didn't mention he had 4 ½ years in power to do what he wanted and reneged on anti-austerity promises while anti-business forces in his party fought attempts at getting major projects going, which Mitsotakis had done almost immediately.

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