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Poll: Most Greeks Dissatisfied With Government Performance

Associated Press
Monday April 27, 2015 6:08 AM

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A small majority of Greeks are dissatisfied with the new government's performance, and half want it to compromise with its European creditors if current tortuous bailout negotiations do not progress, a poll published over the weekend showed.

The results indicate Greeks would tolerate or even welcome a break with the government's election promises to not accept the kind of budget-cutting reforms creditors demand in exchange for loans, if it means a deal is creditors.

With public coffers running dry, a collapse in talks could lead to government restrictions on banking transactions, a sovereign default and eventually even the country's exit from the eurozone.

The poll, carried out by ALCO for the Proto Thema Sunday newspaper, found 52 percent were not satisfied with the government's performance since its Jan. 25 election win, compared to 39 percent who were. If creditors don't accept Greece's proposals, 50 percent want the government to compromise and 36 percent want a rupture.

The ratings showed a significant drop in popularity for the government, a coalition between the radical left Syriza party and the small nationalist Independent Greeks. In a February poll by Metron Analysis, 68 percent of respondents had said they were satisfied with the government's handling of the negotiations, compared to 23 percent who objected.

Despite the fall, Syriza still enjoys a comfortable lead over its main rival, the conservative New Democracy party — 33.3 percent of voters favor it against 20.2 percent.

Although the country's finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, has come under fire from European officials — most recently at a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Friday — at home his popularity remains high. Fifty-five percent said they have a positive view of him versus 36 percent with a negative view.

Government officials in Athens insisted Varoufakis was the target of a deliberate smear campaign by the international press, and insisted he enjoyed the government's full support.

However, they also announced changes to Greece's bailout negotiating teams.

Varoufakis will head a political team but Euclid Tsakalotos, who is minister of international financial relations and is part of the foreign ministry, will handle its coordination, a government official said.

The decisions were taken at a Sunday meeting with Tsipras, the official said.

A separate coordination team, led by Government Secretary General Spyros Sagias, will be created to support technical talks in Athens, while the finance ministry's general secretary for fiscal planning, Nikos Theoharakis, was tasked with designing a plan for the growth of Greece's economy.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras won this year's early general election on promises to repeal deeply resented austerity measures, including pension cuts and tax increases, which came as a condition for Greece's two international bailouts, worth a total of 240 billion euros, from other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund.

But Greece has grown isolated in its negotiations, and has riled its creditors with what European officials have said is its intransigence and lack of progress in proposing reforms. Under a four-month bailout extension, it had until April 30 to come up with acceptable reforms so creditors can unlock the final 7.2 billion euro ($7.8 billion) loan installment.

"Our intention is to keep Greece in the eurozone," German Finance Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said in Berlin.

"But I would like to point out again that the ball is definitely in the Greeks' court. We are waiting for proposals. We have been waiting for weeks. That is somewhat frustrating, but we are patient."

The poll, conducted April 20-23, had a margin of error of 3.1 percent and questioned 1,000 people nationwide.

Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed

Copyright © 2015 theguardian.com. All rights reserved.



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in precious metal products, commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.
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