Greece's anti-bailout leftist SYRIZA party is maintaining its poll lead ahead of a June 17 election that is deemed critical to the country's continued membership of the euro zone, a poll showed on Thursday.
Greece was forced to call a repeat election after a May 6 vote left parliament divided evenly between groups of parties that support and oppose austerity conditions attached to a 130 billion euro rescue agreed with lenders in March.
The Public Issue/Skai TV poll showed SYRIZA leading with 30 percent of the vote, four points ahead of the conservative New Democracy party, which is backing the bailout. In a previous survey by the same pollster on May 19, SYRIZA was leading with 28 percent to New Democracy's 24 percent.
If repeated on June 17, such a result would give SYRIZA a big majority in the country's parliament, even though not a big enough one to rule alone.
Greece's election rules give the party that comes first an automatic bonus of 50 seats in the 300 seat house, meaning even the slightest edge could play a decisive role in determining who forms the next government.
But another survey published on Thursday by Data RC, a little-known pollster, showed New Democracy slightly ahead with 29.4 percent to SYRIZA's 28.8 percent.
Polls since the May 6 election have shown SYRIZA and the two pro-bailout parties all improving their performance at the expense of smaller parties.
The failure of New Democracy and the Socialist PASOK, the two parties that dominated Greece for decades to win a pro-bailout majority, and the success of the anti-bailout radical leftist SYRIZA party which came second, have sent shock waves through Europe.
If Greece renounces the bailout, EU leaders say they will pull the plug on funding, leading to rapid bankruptcy and an exit from the single currency.
The overwhelming majority of Greeks, 85 percent according to Public Issue, want to keep the euro. But at the same time they oppose the austerity conditions agreed with the EU and IMF.
© 2023 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.