September 4, 2015 / 2:04 PM / 4 years ago

Greek conservatives pull ahead of leftist Syriza: opinion poll

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece’s conservative New Democracy party has taken a tiny lead among voters over leftist Syriza before the Sept. 20 election, an opinion poll published on Friday showed.

New Democracy has rapidly closed the gap with Syriza in recent days, and the Metron Analysis poll on Friday was the second this week to show it overtaking former prime minister Alexis Tsipras’s party.

Tsipras came to power in January promising to reverse years of austerity. But he resigned last month after a rebellion in his party, seeking a fresh mandate to implement a stringent bailout he clinched after seven months of acrimonious negotiations with the EU and the IMF.

Syriza is on course to get 23.4 percent of the vote while New Democracy would take 24 percent, the latest poll showed. Over 11 percent of respondents were undecided.

Just a few weeks ago, a Syriza victory in the snap election had appeared almost certain as Greeks lauded the charismatic and youthful Tsipras for waging a bruising battle against European and International Monetary Fund creditors over austerity cuts.

The latest poll, conducted on behalf of the Parapolitika newspaper, showed New Democracy leader Evangelos Meimarakis, with his rating at 47 percent, was more popular than Tsipras, who was backed by 43 percent.

Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou, Writing by Deepa Babington; editing by Matthias Williams/Ruth Pitchford

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