The gap between the main opposition New Democracy party and ruling PASOK narrowed by 0.3 percent compared to last September and by 2.2 percent compared to last June, according to the latest opinion poll prepared by the Metron Analysis company and presented on Thursday night by the Antenna television channel.
With general elections normally expected in April, the opinion poll gives ND 38.5 percent of the vote, PASOK 31.7, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) 5.8, the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology 3.6, the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) 2.7 and the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) 1.9, while the undecided vote amounts to 15.8.
On the question of which party will win the next elections, 55.5 percent of respondents said ND will win and 25.7 PASOK.
As regards who is most suitable for Prime Minister, Prime Minister and PASOK leader Costas Simitis leads with 38.1 percent as against 36 for ND leader Costas Karamanlis.
The ongoing dispute between Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos and Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos has harmed both, according to the opinion poll, since their popularity has decreased by over 10 percentage points since last June.
Regarding the question who is in the right, Christodoulos received 27.7 percent and Vartholomeos 17.5, 6.8 of respondents said both and 14.4 neither of them, while 33.6 have no opinion.
Main opposition New Democracy will seek to modernize public administration, curb corruption, and tackle fiscal revitalization through restraint in state spending and redesign of the public investments program, the party’s leader, Costas Karamanlis, said on Thursday.
”We would proceed with deregulation to attract new investment initiatives and the adoption of structural initiatives. We are preparing a radically different tax regime characterized by simplicity, stability, constancy, codification, lower tax brackets, powerful investment incentives, and electronic cross-checking to quash tax evasion,” Karamanlis said.
”In our first six months in office, we would set in motion an integrated action plan against corruption,” he told a conference on the Greek economy after the Athens 2004 Olympics arranged in Athens by the International Herald Tribune newspaper.
General elections are due in April 2004, with the Olympics following in August of the same year.
Karamanlis also said that the government’s financial crimes squad would be abolished in its present form.