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Greek Parliament Could Have Eight Political Parties, Poll Shows

Greece’s parliament may contain as many as eight political parties after the next election with none gaining an absolute majority, an opinion poll shows.

The New Democracy party, led by Antonis Samaras, is the second largest in parliament and would garner the most votes with 22.5 percent, a five percentage-point drop from the month before, according to a poll conducted by VPRC for Epikaira magazine between March 15 and March 19. The socialist Pasok party, led by former Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, and the Communist Party of Greece would each get 12.5 percent.

Last month’s poll showed Pasok at 11 percent with the Communist Party at 14 percent. Greek parties need to clear a 3 percent threshold to enter parliament.

The Coalition of the Radical Left, known as Syriza, would receive 12 percent and the Democratic Left 11.5 percent, the poll indicated. Eleven percent expressed support for the Independent Greeks party, set up on Feb. 24 by Panos Kammenos after he was expelled from New Democracy for voting against measures needed to receive the loan package. Golden Dawn would receive 3.5 percent support and the Laos party 3 percent, the poll showed.

Venizelos, who replaced former Prime Minister George Papandreou as party leader on March 18, had a negative rating of 73 percent, three percentage points lower than the month before. Samaras had a negative rating of 72 percent compared with 70 percent the month before. Fotis Kouvelis, leader of the Democratic Left, had a negative rating of 47 percent.

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos won parliamentary approval for a new 130 billion-euro ($172 billion) international bailout on March 21. Passage of the legislation moves the country a step closer to elections that may be held as soon as next month. Greece pushed through the biggest sovereign restructuring in history earlier this month, opening the way for the second bailout.

Of the 802 people polled, 54 percent said the loan package agreed with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund is the wrong path for the country. Twenty-two percent said it is flawed but needs to be implemented for the country to overcome the crisis.

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.53 percent.

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