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Politics

New Democracy Lead 15% Over SYRIZA for EU Elections, But Slipping

ATHENS – Two polls for the June 6-9 European Parliament elections show candidates for Greece’s ruling New Democracy have a 15 percent lead over the major rival SYRIZA, but the Conservatives falling far the near 41 percent in 2023 general elections.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he would be satisfied with a 33 percent showing as rivals have been chipping away at New Democracy’s lead by focusing on high food prices, inflation, a phone bugging scandal and alleged coverup of a 2023 train crash that killed 57 people.

A poll by the firm Marc showed New Democracy with a lead of 30.4-15.1 percent over SYRIZA, the PASOK-KINAL Socialists with just 10 percent, the ultranationalist having 7.4 percent, KKE Communists at 6.6 percent, the Course for Freedom 3.6 percent and religious nationalist Niki at just 2.1 percent.

The second poll, by Pulse, had it 32-16.5 percent for New Democracy over SYRIZA whose new leader, Greek-American businessman Stefanos Kasselakis, is trying to rally and has stepped up his criticism of Mitsotakis.

That survey had PASOK at 13 percent, Greek Solution with 8.5 percent, KKE at 7.5 percent, Course for Freedom at 3.5 percent, MeRA25 at 3.5 percent and the New Left at 3 percent, the threshold needed to win seats.

Kasselakis has been campaigning across Greece, as has Mitsotakis, but the SYRIZA leader was irritated by an interview with a radio station on the island of Rhodes and got up and walked out over a clash of opinions.

That led New Democracy to criticize him but SYRIZA put out a statement that said Kasselakis “has proven unafraid of giving interviews to media not in line with SYRIZA’s agenda, as he is completely transparent. In contrast, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis primarily chooses safe environments and friendly journalists.”

The Leftists said he left the interview instead of standing up for himself because he “received a hail of abuse in an unusual tone from a journalist ‘acting under orders,’” but didn’t offer any further explanation.

A New Democracy spokesperson said that, “Kasselakis is not only unapologetic but is also trying to get the upper hand by attacking anew and targeting a journalist who was just doing her job,” although European Union journalists groups said Greece has the worst media freedom record in the bloc.

A public video from the radio show showed Kasselakis and the ‘Real Voice’ radio journalist speaking over each other in disagreement over which party is responsible for the country’s fiscal policy, the Leftist leader fed up and leaving.

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