Greeks have continued their ambivalence over the country’s crushing economic crisis with a new poll showing most want the country to stay in the Eurozone but oppose the austerity measures needed to do that.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ uneasy coalition government is paying a price for the $17.45 billion spending cut and tax hike plan it pushed through Parliament on the orders of international lenders and disapproval of its handling of the crisis, a poll showed.
The survey, the first conducted by GPO pollsters since a June 17 election, came ahead of a Nov. 20 meeting in Brussels at which Eurozone finance ministers are considering whether to sign off on a long-delayed $38.8 billion loan installment, the news agency Reuters reported.
Samaras is eager to please the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank and show he is determined to follow their orders and implement more austerity measures. The Troika is holding up a second bailout of $173 billion amid concerns that the rescue packages may not be enough to right the country’s faltering economy, in a deep five-year recession with 25.1 percent unemployment.
About 63 percent of 1,200 people polled from Nov. 15-17 said they wanted Greece to stay in the single currency bloc despite the sacrifices they would need to make, but just as many said they viewed the government΄s handling of the crisis negatively, an unresolvable contradiction.
If elections were held now, the radical leftist SYRIZA party, which opposes tough austerity measures, would win with 22.3 percent, the poll for MEGA TV found. It said the ruling conservative New Democracy party would get 20.1 percent. Both parties have seen their ratings drop since the election. New Democracy won the vote with 29.6 percent while SYRIZA came second with 26.9 percent.
The ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn party, which entered Parliament for the first time, has seen its popularity rise on a wave of public anger aimed at corrupt politicians, austerity measures and illegal immigration. The poll said it would come third with 10.3 percent, up from 6.9 percent in the election.
More than half of those polled said their income had dropped and that they struggle to make ends meet. About 78 percent said that wage and pension cuts, tax hikes and public sector layoffs would not help the economy stabilize. Most Greeks said they do not want a snap election, but 50.4 percent said a cabinet reshuffle was necessary.
(Source: Reuters, MEGA TV, Capital)