Main Greek parties in trouble, say pre-election polls

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Main Greek parties in trouble, say pre-election polls

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As Greeks cope with another anti-austerity strike – the latest by Athens bus drivers is over job and wage cuts – opinion polls suggest support for parties backing the international bailout is at an historic low.

The day after a snap election was formally set for May 6, two surveys will fuel concern among the country’s international lenders who want a future government to stick to belt-tightening policies.

Both put the conservative and socialist parties’ combined score at under 40 percent, suggesting they may not win an absolute majority in parliament for a potential coalition government.

In contrast, backing for smaller, anti-bailout parties is high, especially for the ‘Independent Greeks’, a new party formed last month.

Amid the election uncertainty, new figures show Greece’s unemployment rate reached a new record high in January of 21.8 percent of the workforce, up 0.6 percent on December.

Budget cuts imposed by the EU and IMF in return for bailing out the country have sparked a wave of closures and bankruptcies.