Special Alert - 24 October 2014
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Greek jitters

CNBC ran an item on Tuesday (21 October) under the title Is a new Greek drama on tap for the markets? The source of the concern is the need for the Greek parliament to vote in a new president in February.  To be elected, a candidate has to receive 180 votes in the 300-seat parliament.  If this cannot be achieved, then snap parliamentary election may be held – and that could return a radical leftist government, which in turn could have major implications for global markets.  We have no view on how the markets would react to such a scenario, but two things can be asserted with a degree of confidence: a new election could indeed bring SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) to power, which in turn could have a destabilizing effect on Greece’s relations with the European Union.

A nationwide Pulse RC opinion poll for To Pontiki newspaper carried out on 17-21 October put SYRIZA in the lead with 27% (up from 24% in July), with ruling coalition leader New Democracy (ND) second with 22% (21% in July).  Support for the other parties was: Golden Dawn 7% (9%), Panhellenic Socialist Movement - Pasok - 6.5% (7%), Potami 6% (7%), Communist Party of Greece - KKE – 5.5% (5.5%), Independent Greeks 3% (3.5%), Democratic Left – DIMAR – 1.5% (1.5%), Popular Orthodox Rally – LAOS – 1% (2%), Others 4% (4.5%), Don’t knows and spoiled ballots 16.5% (15%).

Excluding those intending to spoil their ballots or to abstain, SYRIZA shows 28.5% support against the ND’s 23.5%.  However, the ND’s leader and current prime minister Antonis Samaris is still showing more preferences with 32% than SYRIZA’s leader Alexis Tsipras who recorded 28% support (up from 26% in July).

On the question of the new president, 43% said that the new president should be elected by the next parliament, slightly more than the 42% who  say that the current parliament should decide the next president.

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