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Politics

Tsipras Losing Ground in Attempt to Overtake Mitsotakis in Greek Elections; New Democracy Maintains 6.5% Lead

ATHENS – Greece’s major opposition leader of SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance, Alexis Tsipras, is losing ground in his attempt to close the gap and overtake Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the ruling New Democracy in the May 21 elections.

He is combining shots at Mitsotakis with pitches to the young and working-class, including going to the port of Piraeus to back railway workers and promising to reduce the cost of using public transportation.

According to a poll of voters by the firm Pulse for SKAI TV, the ruling Conservatives have a 6.5% lead over SYRIZA, which rose after subsiding in the wake of the February 28 head-on train crash in Tempi that killed 57 people.

Most voters blamed the government for failing to implement safety measures, but the rage has waned and it’s back to politics as usual, with Mitsotakis not being affected by a surveillance scandal.

The findings showed New Democracy with 32.5% of the vote and SYRIZA at 26%, followed by the center-left PASOK at 9%, KKE Communists with 6%, the radical left MeRA25 with 4%, and ultra-nationalist Greek Solution at 3%, all on a path to get back to Parliament.

Mitsotakis said he wants to rule outright, although the scenario shown in the survey would let him create a coalition with PASOK to have a majority in Parliament. But PASOK leader Nikos Androulakis said he wouldn’t do that if Mitsotakis became Prime Minister, and he won’t work with Tsipras either.

A change in electoral law brought by SYRIZA when it was in power previously took away a 50-seat bonus in Parliament for the first-place finisher in elections, which means unless there is a coalition, there will be a second poll on July 2.

There is also an uncertainty, the survey found, with 12% of voters undecided, and if they largely swing to either New Democracy or SYRIZA, it could produce a better chance of a winner.

Mitsotakis is the preferred candidate for Prime Minister over Tsipras by a margin of 38-27%, showing voters haven’t largely forgotten the former leftist leader breaking virtually all his promises while in power for 4 ½ years.

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