Athens.- In his last campaign speech before Sunday’s European Parliament and local elections, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras admitted on Friday that a SYRIZA victory might bring the government down but implored voters to back New Democracy and ensure Greece does not “turn back.”
Samaras addressed a relatively small crowd in Syntagma Square in his only open-air address of the campaign and focused on the threat to Greece that a SYRIZA win might pose, given that the leftist party has indicated it will demand snap elections if it wins the European vote.
“Only an accident can take Greece back again and SYRIZA is the accident that must not happen,” said the premier.
“They want to bring down the government, now that we are due to agree on further debt relief at the end of the summer,” said Samaras in reference to discussions between his government and eurozone officials regarding how to reduce Greece’s public debt pile.
“Do you want there to be early elections, instability and uncertainty?” he added. “You must decide.”
Samaras repeated his pledge that Greece would not sign a new memorandum of understanding with its creditors and that the government would not implement any new austerity measures.
“For two years, I have been tearing up the memorandums, month by month, page by page,” he told the crowd. “That is how we got to be in the position where we do not need any more memorandums.”
The Greek people are putting down the foundations for a new Greece, one with “a voice, dignity and substance in Europe,” main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras said on Friday, speaking at Iraklio, Crete’s main city.
In a rally prior to Sunday’s double elections – the second round of local government, and Euroelections – Tsipras unleashed a harsh attack against Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, leader of New Democracy, and government Vice President Evangelos Venizelos, leader of PASOK, saying that “Greeks want to put an end to the rule and regime of deterioration, corruption, lying, blackmailing and fear.”
Samaras and Venizelos, he said, “have forgotten what dignity, transparency, sincerity, honesty and ethos mean” and charged the prime minister with fooling the Greek people, for promising to “negotiate sixteen points of the memorandum, then after elections putting the memorandum above the country’s democratic constitution.” Tsipras said that the premier promised cake to a people whose bread he took away, and continued his attack with Venizelos, saying the latter “became a lord chamberlain in Samaras’ court and a follower of the extreme right.”
Tsipras claimed that Samaras’ New Democracy, “like a persistent gardener, sowed and cultivated the poisonous and flesh-eating plant of fascism” and that the extreme-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) was not an enemy of the people, as it is touted, but the long and deadly arm of the system.
SYRIZA, he said, “committed to reinstating Greece as an equal member in Europe and the eurozone through a new negotiation that will confirm to the letter the validity of the fundamental treaties the country has signed.”
Opposition Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Dimitris Koutsoumbas on Friday referred to an “artificial climate of bipartisan polarisation” and condemned “the provocative promotion of specific candidates of certain political parties, mainly in Athens and the Attica region, on Sunday night using as a tool a bogus exit poll and television analysts, who in reality served as main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) mouthpieces”.
In a televised press conference ahead of Sunday’s European elections, Koutsoumbas said that KKE doubled its percentage in last Sunday’s local government elections compared with its vote percentage in the June 2012 general elections, noting that KKE candidates will run in the municipalities of Patras, Ikaria, Petroupoli and Haidari in the second round of local government elections held in parallel with the European elections.
He called on the voters to condemn the political parties that see the EU as the only way and to turn their backs on the pressures and “lesser evil” pseudo-dilemmas.
He said that the coalition government partners, New Democracy (ND) and PASOK, have concealed the fact that certain sectors and businesses have profited during the crisis and that the anti-popular measures were the precondition that reinforced the capital holders and the industrial groups active in the country and abroad.
He criticized SYRIZA and all the political parties, right and left, that see the EU as the only way, noting that SYRIZA blames the government’s pro-memorandum position and the German chancellor for everything, leaving out the EU imperialist construction.
New Democracy trailed SYRIZA in four opinion polls published on Friday and received a further blow when one of its former ministers, Thanasis Giannopoulos, said he was quitting the party. “I cannot be considered a political devotee of this New Democracy, of Samaras and his gang,” said the ex-minister, who added that he expects developments on the center-right of the Greek political spectrum to follow Sunday’s elections.
“Who will be the person that leads the large center-right party? It will be someone, but it will not be Antonis Samaras,” added Giannopoulos.
In contrast, journalist Stavros Theodorakis, who leads his recently formed Potami into Sunday’s vote, said that he is prepared to cooperate with Samaras, as well as SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras in the future. “I am ready to work with Samaras and Tsipras based on a plan for the country,” he told Real FM.
Greece has a record number of candidates running in this year’s European Parliament elections, according to figures released by the EU Parliament press office on Friday.
With a total of 1,299 candidates vying for the 21 seats elected by Greece, the country easily tops other EU member-states for the number of candidates relative to the size of its electorate and actually fields more candidates than much larger countries, including Germany (1,053) and Italy (807), who elect 96 and 73 MEPs, respectively.
The largest number of candidates running in terms of absolute numbers is in France (3,753) and Spain (2,106).
In total, there are 16,351 candidates vying for election to the European Parliament’s 751 seats throughout the 28 EU member-states.
SYRIZA ON THE LEAD
MRB Poll for Star Channel:
In voting intention, SYRIZA received 24.9 percent, ND 22%, Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) 7.9%, Potami 7%, Elia 6%, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) 5.1%, Independent Greeks (ANEL) 3.1% and the Democratic Left (DIMAR) 2.2%. The rest, all the smaller parties together, collected 7.8% of respondents’ choice, while those who did not specify a party reached 14%.
A Poll by “Marc” company for the Alpha TV:
SYRIZA received 24.6 percent, ND 21%, Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) 8.7%, Potami 6%, Elia 5.6%, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) 5.5%, Independent Greeks (ANEL) 4% and the Democratic Left (DIMAR) 2.4%. On the question of which party is expected to win, SYRIZA received 41.6% and ND 38.3%, while 20.1% said “I don’t know/I won’t answer”.
Lastly, 58.1% said they want elections at the end of the government’s four-year term, compared to 35.1% who believe that early elections would provide a solution.
A poll by Alco for protothema.gr :
SYRIZA collects 24.2 pct of votes and ND comes second with 20.8 pct. Third place goes to ultra-right nationalists Golden Dawn with 7.7 pct, followed by the Potami party with 5.8 pct, Elia with 5.3 pct, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with 4.8 pct, the Independent Greeks with 3.3 pct and Democratic Left (DIM.AR) with 1.8 pct. The parties ANTARSYA, Union for the Homeland and the People, LAOS and Ecologists-Greens each get about 1 pct of the vote.
About 2.9 pct of voters expressed support for other parties and 2 pct said they would cast blank votes, while 5 pct say they will not vote and the unspecified vote was 12.4 pct.
Poll by Public Issue for Efimerida ton Syntakton newspaper:
According to the poll results, SYRIZA leads among those questioned with 30 percent, followed by New Democracy (ND) with 27.5 percent, ELIA with 8.5 percent, Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) with 8 percent, the newly founded party To Potami and the Communist Party (KKE) with 6.5 percent, Independent Greeks with 3 percent and Democratic Left (DIMAR) with 2.5 percent. The unidentified vote reaches 24 percent.
Poll by GPO for the Internet pages of iefimerida, NewPost και Newsit:
According to voting intention polled, SYRIZA got 24.5%, New Democracy 23%, Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) 8.3%, Elia 7%, Potami and the Communist Party of Greece 5.8% each, Independent Greeks (ANEL) 4%, Democratic Left (DIMAR) 2.5%, and Ecologists Greens-Pirates 2.2%. The remaining small parties got together a total of 7.3%. Those undecided came to 9.6%.
Metron Analysis for the ANT1:
According to the poll, SYRIZA garners 24.2 percent of respondents’ preferences, ND 21%, Potami 6.8%, Golden Dawn 6.7%, Elia 6.5%, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) 3.2%, Independent Greeks 2.8%, Democratic Left 2% and Ecologists Greens 1.3%.
On the question of which party is expected to win the elections, 3 percent believe ND will come first with a great difference and 35 percent with a narrow difference. On the other hand, 13 percent believe that SYRIZA will come first with a big difference and 32 percent with a narrow gap.