Athens Digest 20.05.2019

• Three polls give opposition ND lead over ruling SYRIZA ahead of Euro elections

• Athens will have to answer over latest handouts and expected fiscal gap

• Top prosecutor orders review of court decision refusing furlough to convicted terrorist

# Three different polls of voter intentions published at the weekend ahead of this Sunday’s European elections showed that opposition New Democracy maintains a lead over governing SYRIZA ranging from 6.5 to 7.5-percent. Undecided voters ranged from 8.7 to 11.3-percent. More specifically, a poll by Marc, published in Proto Thema, gave ND a 7.5 point lead with 30.6 percent versus 23.1-percent for SYRIZA. A Metron Analysis poll for To Vima newspaper projected 30.3 percent for ND and a 6.7-percent lead over SYRIZA with 23.6-percent. Another poll by MRB, published by the Ta Nea newspaper, gave the conservative party a 6.5 point lead, with 30-percent against 23.5 percent. Depending on the stance of the some 700,000 undecided voters, MRB says that the difference between the two parties could range between 5.8 and 8.6 points. The polls showed that the government’s recent announcement for handouts gave SYRIZA only a slight nudge of around 1-percent.

# The objections raised at last Thursday’s Eurogroup over the Greek budget may have received marginal attention in Greece in the run up to Euro elections but Athens will have to provide explanations at the EWG on June 3 and after the release of the enhanced surveillance report on June 5. The institutions have highlighted a significant fiscal gap in the budget of 2019 and an even higher one for 2020 as a result of the latest handouts by Premier Alexis Tsipras. Consequently, Greece may next year need additional sources of revenue as much as the annual ENFIA property tax, in order to cover the difference. The institutions are currently engaged in consultations with the Greek Authorities and with the State’s General Accounting Office, in particular, in order to make their final assessment.

# The Supreme Court will tomorrow discuss the request for prison leave by a convicted hitman of the now defunct November 17 terror group after Greece’s top prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou decided to order a review of a court decision not to grant him furlough. In the event that the appeal by Dimitriou is accepted tomorrow, the furlough request by 61-year-old hanger striking Koufodinas -serving multiple life sentences for 11 assassinations – will be referred back to the court that initially rejected his request. The rejection of his furlough request had sparked a barrage of attacks in solidarity by self-style anarchists against targets in Athens and other cities.

On Our Radar: Greek pole vaulters grab first and second in China Diamond League
Greek Pole vaulters Katerina Stefanidi and Nicole Kyriakopoulou got their outdoor season to a flying start this summer season, grabbing first and second place at the IAAF Diamond League in Shanghai on Saturday. Stefanidi, world champion and Rio Olympic gold medallist, came first with a vault of 4.72 meters, ahead of Kyriakopoulou who also jumped 4.72 meters but had one invalid effort.