ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece’s anti-bailout Syriza party held a steady lead over Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ conservative party ahead of a Jan. 25 snap election, a poll showed on Monday.
The survey conducted by the University of Macedonia research institute for Greek Skai TV showed Alexis Tsipras’ Syriza leading by 4.5 percentage points over Samaras’ New Democracy party.
Both parties’ ratings rose 2 percentage points from a poll by the same institute in December. The latest survey, conducted between Jan. 10 and Jan. 12, put support for Syriza at 31.5 percent versus 27 percent for center-right New Democracy.
Syriza says it will cancel austerity imposed under Greece’s 240 billion euro bailout and renegotiate some debts, raising fears of a standoff with EU/IMF lenders that could result in Greece leaving the euro zone.
However, the head of the euro zone’s rescue fund said Syriza might moderate its position if it came to power.
Opinion polls by various firms have shown Syriza leading the conservatives, but have also indicated that no party is likely to win outright, making a coalition government a likely outcome.
Greece’s electoral system gives the winning party an extra 50 seats in parliament to make it easier to form a government, potentially drawing support from an array of smaller parties.
The newly created centrist party To Potami (River) ranked third, with 6.5 percent, followed by the Communist KKE and the far-right Golden Dawn party, both at 6 percent.
Support for the co-ruling Socialists (PASOK) dropped by 1 percentage point to 3 percent, the same level with the right-wing Independent Greeks.
A party set up by former prime minister George Papandreou -- the Movement of Democratic Socialists -- garnered 2 percent.
There is a 3 percent threshold for a party to win seats in the Greek parliament.
Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Alison Williams