Arab Today, arab today greek pm\s approval hits alltime low
Last Updated : GMT 06:51:55
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Greek PM\'s approval hits all-time low

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Arab Today, arab today Greek PM\'s approval hits all-time low

Athens - AFP

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and his ruling Socialist party were hammered Sunday in an opinion poll as the government prepares an unpopular austerity drive, a prominent Greek daily said. The Public Issue poll published in the daily Kathimerini handed Papandreou his worst ratings yet, and his PASOK party fell behind the conservative New Democracy party after shedding five points in just a month. Only 26 percent of respondents queried nationwide said they approved of Papandreou, down from 34 percent in May. \"This is the worst approval rating in Papandreou\'s political career,\" the head of the survey agency, Yiannis Mavris, wrote in the newspaper. In terms of voter support, Public Issue gave the ruling Socialists 27 percent, down from 32 percent last month. The Conservatives now have 31 percent, up from 29 percent a month earlier. Another poll by the VPRC company on June 1 had given New Democracy a 0.5 percentage point lead, below the margin of statistical error. Papandreou has repeatedly ruled out early elections, but speculation is rife of an imminent reshuffle which could entail the removal of embattled Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou. The prime minister on Sunday insisted that Papaconstantinou \"does not act alone, decisions are collective, as are successes and mistakes.\" \"I will wage the battle until the end, both in parliament and at the European Union,\" he told the daily To Vima in an interview. \"We will win this war,\" Papandreou said. The government wants parliament to pass a controversial austerity package by the end of the month that would represent more than 28 billion euros ($40 billion) in savings by 2015 to help reduce the country\'s crushing debt. Thousands of Greeks have gathered daily outside parliament in the past two weeks to protest against the cuts, and unions have called a general strike, the third this year, on June 15. Papandreou is also waging a battle to convince his European peers to extend Athens more assistance in repaying the debt, which has exploded to more than 350 billion euros. Greece last year was saved from bankruptcy by the last-minute intervention of the EU and the International Monetary Fund, which extended Athens a 110 billion euro loan in return for tough structural reforms. But the recovery programme has failed to restore confidence in the Greek economy and Athens is currently unable to refinance its loans by raising fresh money on the open markets.

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