SYRIZA and New Democracy are both trying to make an impression on voters that would position themselves on the centre or centre-left of the political spectrum, although the methods being used by two parties are different.
A day after Alexis Tsipras attempted to put the furore surrounding Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis and his bank loans to bed, New Democracy revived the issue on Thursday and demanded an official response from the prime minister.
The government tried to leave the recent furore caused by the actions of Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis behind it on Wednesday by unveiling a rent subsidy scheme, another measure SYRIZA hopes will win votes in this year’s elections.
The government is facing fresh accusations of interfering in Greece’s institutions after Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis apparently recorded a telephone conversation with Bank of Greece governor Yannis Stournaras and published the supposed transcript of their conversation.
With the first vote on the constitutional reform out of the way, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras conducted a cabinet reshuffle of limited scope on Friday that was most notable for its inclusion of two former PASOK MPs.
Thursday’s vote on the proposals put forward by the government and the opposition for changes to the Greek Constitution proved to be a mixed bag for SYRIZA and New Democracy.
New Democracy denied on Thursday that it has any plans to propose former socialist prime minister Kostas Simitis or ex-PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos as future presidential candidates amid a clash with SYRIZA over how to decouple the appointment of the next head of state from possible snap elections.
For those looking out for signs of when the next elections might be held, a couple of comments this week by SYRIZA officials fuelled speculation that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will call snap polls in May.
MPs began debating on Tuesday the proposed changes to the Greek constitution before a vote on Thursday in what is shaping to be another political battle between SYRIZA and New Democracy, although the parties agree on aspects of the revision.
Two opinion polls published over the weekend suggest that the gap between SYRIZA and New Democracy is not as wide as other surveys suggest, despite the conservative party’s best efforts to capitalise on the apparent widespread displeasure with the Macedonia name deal.