Greek anti-bailout leftists reclaim slight poll lead

Reuters, Saturday 19 May 2012

A new Greek poll shows a slight lead for anti-bailout SYRIZA and other leftist groups amid the runup to a new election and failure of leaders to reach consensus on a coalition government to manage country's economic crunch

Members of the media are seen as Greek political leaders meet at the presidential palace in Athens May 15, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

Greece's anti-bailout leftist  SYRIZA party has reclaimed a slight lead in the runup to a new election, but the pro-bailout New Democracy and PASOK parties are gaining strength, a poll showed on Saturday.

The poll, by Metron Analysis for the website  was conducted from May 16-17, after party leaders had announced that they had failed to form a coalition government and a new vote would have to be held.

The poll showed SYRIZA ahead with 25.1 percent of the vote, barely leading conservative New Democracy with 23.8 percent.

Socialist PASOK, which like New Democracy supports Greece's international bailout, polled at 17.4 percent.

A May 6 election left parliament evenly divided between opponents and supporters of the bailout, with neither side able to form a coalition government, forcing President Karolos Papoulias to call a new vote for June 17.

Since the May 6 election, polls have shown anti-bailout voters, who had been divided among a number of small parties rallying around SYRIZA and its charismatic 37-year-old leader Alexis Tsipras, putting him into the lead.

First place comes with an additional 50 seats in the 300 seat parliament, so even a slight edge could be decisive in determining who forms the next government.

However, a poll on Thursday showed New Democracy back in front. It and PASOK, which ruled Greece for generations but were hammered on May 6, are hoping to stop a surge by Tsipras by arguing that his refusal to accept the bailout would driveGreece out of the euro, which nearly 80 percent want to keep.

European leaders say they will end funding to Greece if it does not stand by austerity commitments it made to receive the bailout in March, and that this would lead to it being forced to leave the euro.

Tsipras says the threat is a bluff, and the EU cannot afford to eject Athens from the common currency.

Below is a table of recent Greek opinion poll results, as well as the results of the May 6 election.

Poll result effectively excludes undecided voters and those who refused to say how they will vote to project how the poll data would translate into an actual vote result.

ND: New Democracy (Conservative, pro-bailout)

SYRIZA: Left Coalition (Leftist, anti-bailout)

PASOK: Panhellenic Socialist Movement (socialist, pro-bailout)

I.G.: Independent Greeks (conservative, anti-bailout)

KKE: Communists (anti-bailout)

D.L.: Democratic Left (moderate left, anti-austerity)

G.D.: Golden Dawn (far-right, anti-bailout)

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