Athens, January 8, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Lefteris Yallouros
Two opinion polls whose results were made public on Wednesday showed that SYRIZA maintained a lead over New Democracy (ND). However, the difference between the two parties has narrowed to just over 3 percent. A poll by GPO for Mega TV put SYRIZA at 28.5 percent, ahead of ND with 25.3 percent, while another poll by Alco for To Pontiki put the main opposition party on 33.8 percent and ND on 30.5 percent.
Both polls show the next parliament is likely to consist of six parties with the Independent Greeks and Democratic Left parties not making the 3 pct threshold. The new party of ex-PM George Papandreou, Socialist Democrat Movement is also below 3 percent.
With Alexis Tsipras-led SYRIZA looking set to win the January 25 election, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged whoever comes to power to stay firmly on the reform track, stressing that Athens needed to continue to respect its commitments if it wanted its partners to show solidarity.
“I, as German chancellor, and also the German government have always pursued a policy of Greece staying in the eurozone,” Merkel said during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron in London.
Also on Wednesday, in an article published in Italy’s Corriere della Sera titled “My Greece will not harm Europe” Alexis Tsipras described his vision for the future. The SYRIZA leader said that unless there is a considerable review of the political choices in Europe, the crisis will not end.
Elsewhere in his article, Tsipras attacks Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, claiming that he has offered nothing “except submission to the precepts of a harmful and failed austerity, which have forced new tax increases and cuts in salaries and pensions in Greece, in addition to six years of sacrifices”.
The Greek premier meanwhile went on the offensive Wednesday accusing SYRIZA of being soft on national issues, law and order and issues of security and immigration. Speaking in the city of Halkida, Samaras also referred to the economy. “From now on we will enter a period of real change, with growth, investment, exports, privatization and use of public property,” he said.