Venizelos Rules Out Snap Election



Evangelos Venizelos (C) of the vanishing PASOK party
Evangelos Venizelos (C) of the vanishing PASOK party says there won’t be general elections

With polls showing the ruling parties trailing ahead of next month’s elections for the European Parliament and Greek municipalities, socialist PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos has, unsurprisingly, snuffed out rumours of a snap general election.

“There is no such issue,” Venizelos said during a televised news conference on April 6. “People do not want elections, this is clear to see.”

He is a partner in the coalition government ruled by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, leader of the conservative New Democracy, which trails main opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) in opinion polls.

A Kapa Research survey for To Vima newspaper gave the Olive Tree alliance, which includes PASOK for May’s European Parliament elections, just 4.6 percent of the vote. SYRIZA led with 21.5 percent, while new New Democracy came second with 20.8 percent.

The government’s term runs out in 2016. Two polls showed SYRIZA picking up the lead New Democracy had only recently snatched away but lost in the aftermath of a top aide to Samaras, Panayiotis Baltakos, being forced to resign after being seen in a videotape telling the spokesman for the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party that the government had concocted criminal charges against the extremists to bring them down and get their votes.

The first poll, taken April 1 and 2, showed New Democracy leading SYRIZA by over two percent (21.7 to 19.6). The second, after the Baltakos affair and conducted April 3, shows SYRIZA ahead, 21.5 to 20.8 percent. Both results are within the error margin of 3.1 percent.

Baltakos resigned after claiming that the prosecution against lawmakers of the extreme right Golden Dawn party was politically motivated. He was videotaped by one of the lawmakers. He said he lied to the extremists to get information about them.