Greece: Economy grows, but support for Syriza shrinks
by Anadolu Agency
ANKARASep 01, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Anadolu Agency
Sep 01, 2015 12:00 am
Statistics showed on Monday that Greece's gross domestic product (GDP) expanded and doubts about the future of the bailout agreement arose, as polls indicated the popularity of the former ruling coalition had shrunk ahead of the upcoming elections.
Greece's GDP increased 1.6 percent in the second quarter from the same period in the previous year, beating analyst forecasts of a 1.4 percent increase, according to a report by the official statistical service, ELSTAT. It was the largest increase in growth that Greece has seen since 2008.
Household spending was the main contributor to growth, according to the report. Consumers spent on cars, electronics, household items and furniture as the bailout agreement with creditors seemed to suggest an end to uncertainty about the country's economy. But the future of that agreement is threatened by the fragmented picture for the upcoming elections, as shown by opinion polls.
A total of six opinion polls were released on Saturday and Sunday. All show the formerly ruling left-wing Syriza party ahead of its closest contender, the conservative New Democracy, with leads ranging from 1 to 3.1 percent. But the party of outgoing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has dropped heavily in the polls, as it previously led by more than 12 percent.
The opinion polls point to a fragmented parliament after the election, with seats shared between eight different parties. This may make it difficult to form a ruling coalition that will pass the economic reforms required by the bailout agreement.
Tsipras had been the most popular politician in Greece, with 61 percent support in the polls. But his popularity has fallen to around 41 percent, according to the surveys taken over the weekend, while New Democracy leader Vangelis Meimarakis saw his support at 34 percent.
Tsipras has ruled out a coalition with Meimarakis's conservative party; forming a government may prove a brisk challenge if he is asked to do so after the elections on Sept. 20. The Greek government has agreed to a three-year, 86 billion euro bailout with its European creditors, but receiving the funds is conditional on the government's ability to enact far-reaching economic reforms.