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Greek Leftists neck-and-neck with conservatives ahead of snap elections: survey

The Radical Left SYRIZA party of outgoing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was neck and neck with the main opposition conservative New Democracy (ND) party ahead of the looming snap general elections, an opinion poll released on Tuesday showed.

If ballots were held today SYRIZA would garner 24 percent of votes and ND would follow with 22 percent, according to the survey carried out by polling firm Interview for private Vergina television channel, the first to be published after Tsipras' resignation on Thursday last week.

In the Jan. 25 national elections SYRIZA had won with 36 percent and ND followed with 28 percent.

If Greek voters headed to the polls this week the far-Right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) would remain the third largest party in the new assembly winning 6 percent of votes, according to the survey.

The centrist River (Potami) party would follow again with 5.5 percent, while the socialists of PASOK and the Communist party KKE would get 4.5 percent of votes each.

The anti-bailout Leftist Popular Unity party which was formed on Friday by MPs who broke away from SYRIZA, would also receive 4.5 percent of votes, according to the Interview poll.

The center-Left Centrists' Union party would garner 4 percent and the co-ruling Right-wing Independent Greeks party would marginally also enter the new parliament with 3.5 percent of votes.

The overwhelming majority of Greeks (67 percent against 26 percent) did not support the Premier's move to force elections, according to the poll.

Tsipras argued that he felt it was his moral duty to request a fresh mandate from people to implement the third bailout his government just sealed with international lenders this August to keep Greece afloat and in the euro zone.

Eight out of ten respondents (84 percent against 13 percent) supported the country's stay in the European common currency zone, according to the survey.

Under the Greek Constitution following the Premier's resignation the President of the Republic gives mandates to the leaders of the three largest parliamentary groups to try to form a government.

From Monday to this Thursday Panagiotis Lafazanis, the leader of Popular Unity, holds the third and final mandate. In case he fails to reach a positive result, as expected, the President of the Republic appoints the head of the Supreme Court as caretaker Prime Minister and formally calls the elections.

According to government sources, the interim government could be appointed as soon as Thursday evening and the elections will most likely be held on Sept. 20.

[Source: Xinhua, Athens, 25Aug15]

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