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Opinion poll shows Syriza pulling ahead of opposition in run-up to Greece's Sept. 20 election

ATHENS, Greece – The radical left Syriza party of former prime minister Alexis Tsipras is pulling ahead of the conservative main opposition party in the run-up to Greece’s snap general election on Sept. 20, according to an opinion poll published Friday.

The poll conducted for the left-leaning Efimerida ton Syntakton newspaper showed Syriza at 28.5 per cent compared to 23.5 per cent for the centre-right New Democracy party. Nazi-inspired Golden Dawn was in third place with 6.5 per cent, while 17.5 per cent of respondents were undecided or would not answer.

Conducted by ProRata on Sept. 7-9, the nationwide poll questioned 1,300 people by telephone and had a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points. Other polls have shown the two main parties in a dead heat.

Friday’s poll shows an improvement for both Syriza and New Democracy. In late August, a similar poll from the agency had Syriza at 23 per cent and New Democracy at 19.5 per cent.

All polls conducted so far show no party able to win enough parliamentary seats to govern without coalition partners.

The nationalist Independent Greeks, Syriza’s governing coalition partner, was polling at 2.5 per cent — short of the 3 per cent threshold required to win any seats. A failure by the party to gain representation could complicate Tsipras’ options if he falls short of an overall majority.

Tsipras resigned barely seven months into his four-year term. He triggered the election after Syriza hardliners rebelled over his decision to sign a third bailout deal with creditors that required spending cuts and tax hikes despite his promises to end austerity.

The Syriza hardliners have formed a new party, Popular Unity, advocating Greece’s exit from Europe’s joint currency, the euro. Friday’s poll showed the party at 2.5 per cent, not enough to get into parliament.