New Democracy and PASOK leaders - Antonis Samaras and Evangelos Venizelos
The severe economic crisis and its impact on Greek households has caused a deep "crack" in the political and social system of the country.
The latest poll conducted by the "Statistics" department of the Economic University of Athens among 1,679 participants showed the great pessimism among Greeks regarding their future as well as disapproval for the political parties, which are considered unfit to lead the country out of the crisis.
Most Greeks do not trust the government, the opposition, trade union leaders, even institutions like the stock exchange, banks and private insurance companies. The impressive part of the study is that every month the economic situation of households is getting worse to such an extent that their despair is like a social collapse. The recent suicide of the 77-year-old retiree on Syntagma Square and the increase in suicides in general show a 'national depression', in which the country finds itself.
Indicative is that 55.4 percent of respondents consider their financial situation bad or very bad, and only 7.5 percent do not seem affected by the crisis. Within one year the percentage of respondents, who answer that their financial situation has deteriorated, has increased by 11 percentage points. Moreover, 7 out of 10 Greeks (or 68 percent) believe that during the next three months their personal financial situation will deteriorate even further - these fears have increased by 15 percent since last year.
The personal financial drama is evident from the fact that 7 out of 10 Greeks fear that their incomes may become insufficient to cover their needs. The money Greeks have put aside had begun to disappear, because they are using it to cover everyday needs. More than 4 out of 10 Greeks (or 42.2 percent) responded that their salary is insufficient and they are withdrawing money from their deposits, or savings, in order to meet their needs. Also, almost 3 out of 10 Greeks (or 29.2 percent) responded that they are forced to borrow money from friends and relatives, since their salary is not enough, and they have no savings. Those who say they cannot meet their expenses are with 9 percentage points more than those registered in March 2010.
Only 2 out of 100 Greeks (or 2.6 percent) claim that they are saving money and 18.6 percent claim that the money they earn is sufficient for their needs but they cannot save.
As regards the economic situation of the country the expectations that there will be improvement are very low. 89 percent of respondents assessed today's situation as negative, and 6 out of 10 believe that the situation will deteriorate further in the next quarter. Uncertainty about the future has "paralyzed" Greeks, 75 percent of whom are worried about the economy of the region where they live.
The great economic uncertainty and pessimism builds up and operates as a "tsunami" against the financial and political system. Greeks no longer seem to trust anything and anyone, a fact, which is particularly troublesome for Greek society. It must also serve as a warning for the political system keeping in mind the forthcoming elections, because the lack of an assertive solution for exiting the crisis turns the public into a "boiling cauldron". During the election period we can observe various manifestations of apolitical conduct or support of extreme parties, as a kind of revenge against the existing political system.
According to the poll:
- Nearly 8 in 10 Greeks do not trust the government, centre supporters show greater confidence, and left supporters - less. More than 7 out of 10 Greeks do not believe that the government works for the good of the nation. And more than half of respondents (57.4 percent) believe that national interests are being ignored, in order to cover the interests of the creditors.
- Disapproval for the largest opposition party is strongly expressed. Although New Democracy wants to be perceived as an alternative, almost 8 out of 10 Greeks do not trust it. This is also a warning for the leader Antonis Samaras, because 7 out of 10 respondents do not trust him either.
- The political confidence index reached only 18 points on a scale where 100 is excellent and 50 is the minimum threshold. The index for the government is the same (18), and it has decreased by 3.5 points from last year. Confidence in the opposition stands only at 19 points and this is a decrease by about 5 points.
- The previous “pillar” of workers - trade unions - receive the disapproval of more than 7 out of 10 Greeks (61.3 percent do not trust them at all, 22.6 percent – trust them a bit).
- There is also shock for the financial system, which has also been swept away by the economic crisis. 84 percent of respondents do not trust the stock market, 6 out of every 10 Greeks do not trust banks and 7 out of every 10 do not trust private insurance companies.