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Politics

Spy Scandal Cuts New Democracy Lead, SYRIZA, PASOK Gain

September 2, 2022

ATHENS – Bugging a rival politician’s phone and reports of spyware being used have dragged down the ruling New Democracy’s leader in a survey in which most said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis knew about it despite his denial.

The poll done by Metron Analysis said the government’s lead over the sniping major rival SYRIZA dropped from 8.8 to 7.4 percent compared to its last survey in June.

New Democracy got only 27.6 percent support – little more than one in four voters – while SYRIZA had 20.2 percent, but the PASOK Socialists – whose leader Nikos Androulakis was the target of spying – rose to 12.7 percent.

He said that the National Intelligence Service (EYP) that reportedly had also bugged the phone of financial journalist Thanasis Koukakis was also eavesdropping on him.

He said the spy service tried to install Predator spyware on his cell phone but the attempt failed when he didn’t open a text message although Kouakis said his phone was infiltrated and blamed EYP.

Androulakis is also a Member of the European Parliament and said he discovered the attempt when he took his phone to a research lab there for an analysis –  before he knew he was being bugged..

In fourth in their usual place was the KKE Communists at 6.1 percent, which essentially hasn’t changed for decades, followed by the leftist MeRA25 with 4 percent and the ultra-nationalist Greek Solution at 3.4 percent, just above the 3 percent threshold needed to get into Parliament.

In bad news for Mitsotakis, 61 percent said he knew about the spying and didn’t believe his denial and only 28 percent said it was an isolated mistake although one of his first acts after winning office in July, 2019 snap polls in beating SYRIZA was to have the EYP chief report directly to him.

The research company estimates, based on models regarding the final participation of voters in an election, that New Democracy would win 34.1 percent if an election was held now – falling 5.8 percent from previously – and that the economy and cost of life, the energy crisis, unemployment, foreign policy and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine were their worries.

But 56 percent have a negative view of the New Democracy administration, a troubling finding for Mitsotakis despite his lead – the dissatisfaction is up 3 percent from before and only 38 percent are positive.

He had said he wouldn’t call early elections and would finish his term to the middle of 2023 in a re-election bid, which 58 percent of respondents felt was the best move, 39 percent wanting polls now.

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