Polls: Greek socialists overtake the Left ranking second
The Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok) is currently in second position, overtaking for the first time in 11 years the main opposition leftist Syriza party, which is facing deep turmoil, new polls have shown.
Pasok was an influential party in Greek politics for decades, but its electoral performance dropped after the country requested a bailout from the International Monetary Fund in 2010.
Leftist Syriza, affiliated with the EU Left, filled the gap in opposition under the leadership of Alexis Tsipras, who managed to bring the party into power.
The socialists started gaining ground again after the electoral defeat of Syriza by the conservative New Democracy party (EPP) in the national elections last June.
Read more: ‘Tsipras miracle’ happened once: Greek left on the brink of collapse
Tsipras resigned and was replaced through internal elections by 35-year-old businessman Stefanos Kasselakis.
Also read: Big ‘left divorce’ reshuffles political cards in Athens
Since then, Syriza has been facing turmoil in what many describe as a “civil war”.
The main opposition insists that despite its internal crisis, Pasok cannot capitalise it electorally and that its voters do not turn to the socialists but rather abstain.
“Even in our worst crisis, Pasok does not pick up […] therefore it cannot be a reliable alternative”, influential Syriza lawmaker Nikos Pappas told Euractiv last week, adding that Greek voters will ultimately switch to Syriza, who will “build the social and political alliances that will make us a majority again”.
Pasok leader Nikos Androulakis rejects this argument. Speaking to ANT1 TV channel, he said his party is rising but “it needs work, it doesn’t want celebrations”.
He also insisted that the conservatives’ dominance in Greek politics can be partly attributed to the lack of trust in the official main opposition Syriza party.
(Sarantis Michalopoulos | Euractiv.com)