ATHENS – As he was on the brink of getting Parliament to approve an historic deal to change the name of The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM,) it’s set to be a costly victory with a survey showing 62 percent of Greeks are opposed, helping give the major opposition New Democracy a 10.5 percent lead with elections coming this year.
Opponents of the agreement said it was “negative” for Greece as besides changing the name of FYROM to North Macedonia and allowing citizens there to be called Macedonians, with a Macedonian language, culture and identity, it would lift Greek vetoes on the country getting into NATO and opening European Union accession talks.
The poll was conducted by the Pulse firm, and presented during the prime-time newscast of SKAI TV, a station boycotted by SYRIZA after Tsipras said it was biased against the party. The building housing the station’s offices was damaged in December, 2018 when a bomb exploded outside.
The poll gave New Democracy a 33-22.5 percent edge, the margin holding the same as a previous survey by the Pulse firm a month earlier.
Some 47 percent said the name deal was “definitely negative” and 15 percent “probably negative” while only 15 percent each said it was “definitely” or “probably” positive.
In third place again, with 8 percent, was the Golden Dawn ultra-extreme right, charged with using neo-Nazi methods, and whose 15 lawmakers and dozens of members are in the fourth year of a trial on charges of running a criminal gang, which they deny.
Fourth, at 6.5 percent, was the fast-fading Movement for Change (KINAL,) led by former PASOK Socialist officials whose party went bust after betraying its alleged principles to back austerity measures while serving New Democracy in a previous coalition.
KINAL is being broken up by Tsipras’ name change deal that has seen members of one of the group’s members, the To Potami centrists, fall to four members with several defecting, and with the Democratic Left (DIMAR) leaving after its President was booted by KINAL leader Fofi Gennimata for backing the agreement.
Fifth in their usual place which has varied little for decades was the KKE Communists at 5.5 percent while 13.5 percent were undecided. No other party, including three in Parliament now, To Potami, the Independent Greeks (ANEL) and the Union of Centrists is showing above the 3 percent threshold needed to return.