Mainstream Parties Languish As Elections Near

    Public support for Greece’s two mainstream parties–the Socialist, or Pasok, party and the center-right New Democracy party–continues to languish just weeks ahead of upcoming elections, two polls showed Saturday, as voters continue to flock to smaller parties who are mostly arrayed against the government’s tough austerity program.

    According to a poll in the weekly Realnews newspaper, 66% of Greeks think Greece should remain part of the eurozone, but ditch the current austerity plan demanded by the country’s European partners and backed the two main parties.
    Only 14.2% of Greeks think the current austerity plan should continue to be implemented, while 13.2% think the country should leave the euro zone altogether.

    With regards to the two main parties, according to the poll, New Democracy would garner just 25.4% of the vote if elections were held today, while Pasok would see only 15.8% support–and that only after adjusting for the large number of undetermined voters.
    Taking into account the undecideds, declared support for New Democracy is just 20.5%, and only 12.7% for Pasok.

    The same poll shows that as many as 10 political parties could cross the minimum 3% threshold to enter parliament in the upcoming May 6 elections, up from just five currently. A second poll, for the Eleftheros Typos newspaper, shows that as many as nine parties could be represented in the next parliament, while New Democracy would likely command just 21.5%, and Pasok 15.5% of the vote.

    The two surveys confirm recent polling trends that suggest next month’s elections will produce a highly fragmented parliament with a large number of small left and right wing parties opposed to the current austerity program, and with neither of the two main parties able to form an outright majority government.

    Instead, the elections are likely to force the two parties–who banded together last November to form a somewhat rickety, interim government–back into a new coalition. But even allowing for a 50-seat bonus awarded to the country’s biggest party under Greece’s electoral law, a new New Democracy-Pasok coalition will likely have only a slim majority in the country’s 300-seat parliament.

    Among the other parties cited in the Realnews poll, Greece’s Communist Party will receive 9.8% of the vote in the upcoming polls; the nationalist Laos party 3.1%; the Coalition of the Left, or Syriza, 10.7%; the newly formed Independent Greeks 8.8%; the Democratic Left 8.7%; the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn 4.8%, the Ecologist Greens 3.6% and the neo-liberal Democratic Alliance 3.0%.
    (source: Realnews, DowJones)


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