Tight elec­tion con­test ahead, polls in­di­cate

Care­taker gov­ern­ment sworn in

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

A slimmed-down 23-mem­ber cab­i­net was sworn in yesterday as Par­lia­ment was dis­solved and elec­tions were set for Septem­ber 20 in what opin­ion polls in­di­cate will be a closely fought con­test.

Care­taker Prime Min­is­ter Vas­si­liki Thanou presided over the first meet­ing of the new cab­i­net af­ter her min­is­ters were sworn in and stressed that the gov­ern­ment’s role is to en­sure that the elec­tions pass off with­out in­ci­dent.

“We will do our ut­most so that the elec­tions are held in flaw­less fash­ion,” said Thanou, who was Supreme Court pres­i­dent un­til Thurs­day.

She said that the new cab­i­net is staffed with peo­ple “with the broad­est pos­si­ble ap­peal, per­son­al­i­ties who have distin­guished them­selves in the sciences, pol­i­tics and the arts.”

A poll con­ducted by the Univer­sity of Mace­do­nia on be­half of Skai TV and Ra­dio sug­gested that the elec­tion cam­paign will prove ex­tremely tense as the fi­nal re­sult could re­main in doubt right un­til the evening of Septem­ber 20.

The univer­sity’s first poll since June in­di­cated that SYRIZA has ex­pe­ri­enced a dra­matic slump in sup­port, fall­ing by 9.5 per­cent­age points to 25 per­cent. In con­trast, New Democ­racy has seen its back­ing in­crease from 16.5 per­cent in June to 22 per­cent this month.

Af­ter these two par­ties there is a large gap to the next six that are seen pass­ing the 3 per­cent thresh­old needed to en­ter Par­lia­ment. Po­tami is seen in third place with the Com­mu­nist Party on 6 per­cent. They are fol­lowed by Golden Dawn on 5.5 per­cent, Pop­u­lar Unity – which was formed by SYRIZA rebels last week – on 5 per­cent and the Union of Cen­trists and PA­SOK on 4.5 per­cent.

The cur­rent coali­tion part­ner In­de­pen­dent Greeks is seen gath­er­ing just 2 per­cent of the vote. Five per­cent of those ques­tioned said they would vote for other par­ties, while 14.5 per- cent did not ex­press a pref­er­ence.

The de­cline in SYRIZA’s pop­u­lar­ity is also re­flected in Tsipras’s plum­met­ing rat­ings. The left­ist leader had an ap­proval score of 70 per­cent at the end of March but this has now fallen to 29.5 per­cent, which is not that far ahead of New Democ­racy leader Evan­ge­los Meimarakis on 26 per­cent.

How Greeks now see Tsipras’s de­ci­sion to call a ref­er­en­dum on the bailout terms of­fered by the coun­try’s lenders at the be­gin­ning of July also rep­re­sents a blow to the for­mer PM. The Univer­sity of Mace­do­nia found that 66.5 per­cent of Greeks be­lieve the plebiscite harmed Greece, while just 14.5 per­cent think that it helped.

Other opin­ion polls pub­lished yesterday also in­di­cated that the elec­tion race will be a close one.

SYRIZA was sup­ported by 23 per­cent of those polled by Pro­Rata for Fri­day’s Efimerida ton Syn­tak­ton news­pa­per, with New Democ­racy sec­ond on 19.5 per­cent. The pre­vi­ous Pro­Rata poll in early July showed a wider gap in SYRIZA’s fa­vor, putting the party on 26 per­cent com­pared with 15 per­cent for New Democ­racy.

SYRIZA would get 29 per­cent and con­ser­va­tive ND 27.8 per­cent if elec­tions were held now, a poll con­ducted by Metron Anal­y­sis for Para­poli­tika news­pa­per showed.

Care­taker Prime Min­is­ter Vas­si­liki Thanou (cen­ter) stands next to Pres­i­dent Prokopis Pavlopou­los as the new cab­i­net is sworn in. Par­lia­ment was also closed and is due to re­open on Oc­to­ber 1 if a gov­ern­ment is formed af­ter the snap elec­tions.

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