New Democracy and PASOK leaders have opened a cross fire at the radical left. Antonis Samaras made a fierce attack on SYRIZA and accused the political formation stating that its positions are taking Greece out of the common European currency. Evangelos Venizelos said that the far left are responsible for conducting the second elections and proposed at the same time a government centred on the "responsible centre-left space". For his part, Alexis Tsipras accused them of leading a "dirty war" against SYRIZA and stressed, "The participation of Greece in the euro area is threatened by the memoranda policy, which is taking us to bankruptcy."
Commentators identified yesterday's speeches by political leaders before their parliamentary groups as the first major public debate, which showed the differences not only in their positions, but also in their election strategies.
It is now quite clear that the main dilemma during the election period will be "euro or drachma" and the polarization is expected to further increase. The New Democracy leader made it clear that his main political opponent was Alexis Tsipras. He in turn will try to prove that there is no way outside the Memorandum. Evangelos Venizelos will try to present PASOK as a force of security and stability in resolving the crisis.
Although a televised debate was not held before the elections on 6 May, the polarization in the opposition between the three leaders is leading to a change in party strategies. Antonis Samaras’ associates are advising him to require a debate between the three leaders to undermine SYRIZA’s government programme. At the same time, none of the parties excludes open meetings in major Greek cities. The aim of all is to mobilize the deputies and their assistants locally, although this move might prove unsuccessful, since the 17 June elections will be held with party lists.
At the same time, a poll conducted by Marc shows New Democracy as the first choice of voters, but the percentage of SYRIZA remains high. In particular, 23.1% of the respondents expressed their intention to vote for New Democracy. Of them, 21% chose SYRIZA and PASOK is the third force, but with a lower rate of 13.2%. Compared with the results of the elections on 6 May, a decrease was reported for Independent Greeks - 7.2%, the Democratic Left - 5.6%, the Communist Party - 5.1% and Golden Dawn - 4.3%. The poll was conducted in the period 15 - 17 May and fully justifies the opinion that making any forecasts until the election night is quite risky.
As for the centre-right space, it seems that the cooperation between New Democracy and Dora Bakogiannis’ Democratic Alliance will be announced soon. According to sources, it is quite possible for it to be announced today, especially after the meeting last night between the two main negotiators - New Democracy spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis and the Mayor of Karpenisi and the son of Dora Bakogiannis, Kostas Bakogiannis. The form of this cooperation is not yet very clear but those familiar with the essence of the talks claim that it will not be detrimental to the political presence of Dora Bakogiannis.
On the other hand, although the LAOS leader George Karatzaferis is positive about his return to New Democracy, he is apparently hampering this process. According to associates of Antonis Samaras, he has laid down excessive terms. At the same time, more of the most prominent members of his party are ready to again fall into the arms of the blue party. In this case, he would probably be forced by circumstances to stop his uncompromising attitude. Surely, the particularly low percentages for his party shown in the polls do not give him great chances for political manoeuvring.
For his part, the leader of Drasi, Stefanos Manos, repeated his proposal for forming a broad front of pro-European forces, which would include his party, Democratic Alliance, New Democracy and PASOK. This mixed political formation could participate in the June elections with a new, stable and sustainable leadership able to offer an alternative to the dilemma "inside or outside Europe," which according to the old politician will be the core of the election race. "Under these conditions, in which New Democracy and PASOK insisted on maintaining the status quo, I think that a sound successor of the preferences of common-sense citizens, of those who refuse to succumb to the dilemma SYRIZA against New Democracy and PASOK should appear. In the few days remaining, all who are willing to take the stake of the European course of the country should come forward," he wrote in an article published in today's Kathimerini newspaper. Stefanos Manos denied yesterday‘s rumours that he was in talks with the PASOK leader, Evangelos Venizelos, in order to achieve election cooperation between PASOK and Drasi.