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Politics

New Democracy Lead Over SYRIZA Being Chipped Away Slowly

ATHENS – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ ruling New Democracy party is apparently feeling the effect of constant sniping from the major opposition SYRIZA over its handling of inflation, energy costs and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Conservatives lead, that had been as high as 12-14 percent, was down to 8.5 percent as Greeks said they were uneasy about the economy because of the effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that has spiked prices across the board.

That was shown in an opinion poll by Pulse for SKAI TV that gave New Democracy 32.5 percent of the vote while SYRIZA had 24 percent, boosting its standing after leader and former premier Alexis Tsipras has stuck to a battering ram approach and scattershot attacks on Mitsotakis’ administration.

In third and rising is the new PASOK-Movement for Change center-left party that has benefited from the new rule of Member of the European Parliament Nikos Androulakis, led by veterans of the former PASOK Socialists.

In fourth in their usual place that hasn’t changed for decades is the KKE Communists at 5.5 percent, followed by the ultra-nationalist Greek Solution and left-wing MeRA25 that are politically irrelevant.

Mitsotakis was deemed the best choice to lead the country by a margin of 39-26 percent over Tsipras, a stronger standing for him when it came to a head-to-head preference for abilities, not a good sign for the SYRIZA chief.

Mitsotakis said he will stick to his pledge to fill out his term and hold elections in the summer of 2023 and not snap polls as Tsipras has constantly demanded despite surveys showing he would again lose big as he did when New Democracy routed his party in July, 2018 elections.

Some 46 percent of Greeks said the polls this time around should be as scheduled in 2023 while 42 percent want them this year, although under a change approved by SYRIZA when it ruled the winning party won’t get a 50-seat bonus in Parliament which could lead to a second election or a coalition.

The nationwide survey of 1,206 citizens, conducted on May 9-11, showed how deep the worry is over the economy with inflation at a 28-year high and everything from food to fuel costs jumping.

Some 55 percent of respondents said they feel “rather pessimistic” or “definitely pessimistic” about the coming months and only 36 percent felt confident things would get better, which could be an ominous sign for Mitsotakis.

His government is pouring billions into energy cost subsidies but just 51 percent of Greeks felt it was enough, especially with electric bills doubling and the focus turned to the economy during the lingering pandemic.

Greeks were also split about his support for Ukraine over Russia’s invasion, 43 percent said backing European Union sanctions was the right approach but 44 saying it’s not.

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