January 17, 2015 / 5:23 PM / 3 years ago

Greece's Syriza party widens lead over conservatives: poll

People walk past a banner with an image of opposition leader and head of radical leftist Syriza party Alexis Tsipras at the party's pre-election kiosk in Athens January 15, 2015. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece’s anti-bailout Syriza party is solidifying its opinion poll lead over the ruling conservatives eight days before the country’s election, a survey on Saturday.

The survey by pollster Kapa Research for Sunday’s To Vima newspaper showed the radical leftists’ lead widening to 3.1 percentage points from 2.6 points in a previous poll earlier in the month.

The national vote on Jan. 25 will be closely watched by financial markets, nervous that a Syriza victory might trigger a standoff with Greece’s European Union and IMF lenders and unleash a new financial crisis.

The survey, conducted on Jan. 13-15, showed that Syriza, which is running on a pledge to end austerity policies and renegotiate the country’s debt, would win 31.2 percent of the vote if the election was held now, versus 28.1 percent for Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ New Democracy conservatives.

The centrist party To Potami (River) ranked third with 5.4 percent.

The leading party must generally receive between 36 and 40 percent of the vote to win outright, though the exact threshold depends on the share of the vote taken by parties that fail to reach a 3 percent threshold to enter parliament.

The electoral system automatically gives the winning party an extra 50 seats to make it easier to form a government.

Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Alison Williams

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