Samaras rejects compromise of coalition after elections

In what was essentially his first election campaign speech, New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras rejected the idea of forming a coalition government with PASOK after the polls as new surveys showed a rise in support for the conservatives, who remain far short of the backing they need to form a one-party administration.

“Greece can make it, we can do things differently,” said Samaras in a speech at an indoor arena in Egaleo, western Athens, on Saturday.

Samaras said he would try to “untie” Greece from the difficult position it had been placed in by PASOK.

In his speech, Samaras pledged to boost low pensions, create jobs and compensate retail bondholders who have lost money due to the country's debt restructuring plan, even though Greece’s eurozone partners have already indicated that they would block such an attempt.

Much of the ND leader’s address, though, was allocated to attacks on PASOK, which Samaras indirectly accused of wanting to delay elections, which are likely to be held on May 6.

“We got rid of George Papandreou, now we will get rid of PASOK,” Samaras told party supporters.

“Three elements want a coalition: Firstly, PASOK itself. Secondly, all those interests that don’t want anything in Greece to change and thirdly, all those within the country and abroad who want tomorrow’s government to be weak and easily controlled.

“We are asking for a clear mandate from the Greek people so we can change it all.”

Support for ND and PASOK now reaches a combined 40 percent from 26 percent in February, according to an Alco survey for the Proto Thema newspaper.

Backing for New Democracy had risen by nearly 6 percentage points over the past two months to 24 percent. However, the conservatives would need about 36 to 38 percent of the vote to have a chance of forming a government on their own.

PASOK's ratings - boosted by the election of former finance minister Evangelos Venizelos as its new leader - now stand at 16 percent, or twice as much as the February reading, according to the poll. 

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