Greek opinion polls inconclusive as Sunday election nears

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Athens (dpa) – A spate of polls released Thursday painted a contradictory picture ahead of Sunday’s election in Greece, with two predicting a neck-and-neck battle between the leading parties as another forecast a clear victory for the left-wing SYRIZA party.

Those surveyed in one opinion poll gave former prime minister Alex Tsipras’s SYRIZA party a slim 0.6 per cent margin ahead of conservative New Democracy rivals.

According to the poll in To Vima newspaper, SYRIZA was expected to get 29 per cent of the vote, as compared with New Democracy’s 28.4 per cent.

A close race was also predicted by a poll published in the conservative Kathimerini newspaper, with New Democracy posting 30 per cent of the vote, slightly ahead of SYRIZA’s 29.5 per cent.

But a poll in left-wing daily Efimerida ton Syntakton forecast a comfortable victory for Tsipras, reporting 28 per cent voter support for his alliance as compared with 24 per cent for New Democracy.

Of the 300 seats in Athens, 250 will be allocated proportionately, with the winning party receiving a 50-seat bonus.

Neither party is likely to obtain the 151 seats required for a majority in the election on September 20.

Tsipras captured an easy win in the last election on January 25, receiving 36.3 per cent of the vote compared to New Democracy’s 27.8 per cent.

The extreme-right Golden Dawn party is expected take third place on Sunday, according to the polls, with the pro-Europe centrist party To Potami set to come in fourth.

National Unity (LAE), the hardline anti-austerity party that emerged after a rebellion within SYRIZA, is set to break into parliament as it polls just above the 3-per-cent threshhold required to win seats.

SYRIZA’s former coalition partners, the Independent Greeks (ANEL), could lose parliamentary representation as they struggle to top 3 per cent just three days ahead of the vote.

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