Greeks want unity government to tackle crisis, polls show

AFP , Sunday 6 Nov 2011

Polls show most Greeks in favour of a national emergency government, as the country's political leaders launch a fresh round of talks to pull the country out of its current impasse

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Protesters stand in front of the parliament in Athens' Syntagma square, Friday (Photo: Reuters)

A survey in mass circulation weekly Protothema showed that 52 per cent of Greeks want a unity government to lead Greece out of the debt crisis, with 36 per cent in favour of early elections.

A similar poll in the left-leaning weekly Ethnos showed a slightly narrower percentage (45 per cent) in favour of a unity government, but still outweighing those that want a snap poll (42 per cent).

At the crux of the political deadlock paralysing Greece is the question of whether to hold snap elections or muddle through with a coalition government of national emergency.

Prime Minister George Papandreou wants a consensus government to be formed as soon as possible to push through a crucial EU bailout package which he says is vital to keep Greece in the eurozone.

However Antonis Samaras, leader of the main opposition party, has clung firmly to his position that Greece needs a snap election, something Papandreou believes would be a "catastrophe".

Samaras also wants Papandreou to resign, which the prime minister has already indicated he is prepared to do.

The opposition leader is to meet the country's president later Sunday in a bid to break the stalemate.

And despite the fierce austerity measures required, Greeks are still hugely in favour of keeping the single currency, the surveys showed.

The Protothema poll by the Alco surveying group suggested that 78 per cent of people want to keep the euro, with only 11 per cent favouring a return to Greece's old currency, the drachma.

The Ethnos survey, conducted by Marc, showed an even greater proportion (81 per cent) in favour of keeping the euro.

The polls also suggested that even early elections would not necessarily lead Greece out of its political deadlock, as the parties are too close together for one to form an outright majority.

Both surveys had New Democracy, the conservative party of Samaras, about 10 points clear of Papandreou's socialist Pasok party.

Around 1,000 people were surveyed for the two polls conducted four days prior to their publication.

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