September 1, 2015 / 8:49 PM / 3 years ago

Greece's Syriza party lead shrinks further in election race: poll

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece’s Syriza party is on course to win 26 percent of votes in a snap election in September, just one point ahead of the conservative New Democracy party, a poll published by the Pulse for Action 24 television channel said on Tuesday.

Greek former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras speaks during a meeting with members of his Syriza party in Athens, August 29, 2015. Tsipras's leftist Syriza party's lead in the polls is narrowing, a survey showed on Saturday, suggesting momentum may be shifting towards the opposition as the country counts down to a snap election. The text reads "Only forward". REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Former premier Alexis Tsipras of Syriza resigned in August to seek a new mandate for a bailout deal he clinched with the country’s international creditors, but Syriza’s slipping poll lead suggests the decision could backfire.

Tsipras came to power in January promising to end austerity in a country battered by recession and unemployment but eventually accepted stringent conditions for a new 86-billion-euro bailout after months of difficult negotiations with Greece’s lenders.

Worryingly perhaps for Tsipras, more than two-thirds of the poll respondents disapproved of his government’s performance in its seven months in office. Previously, polls had suggested Tsipras remained popular with voters because he had at least put up a fight in the negotiations for a bailout.

The leftist Syriza party led the New Democracy party by as much as 15 percentage points in May, but its lead has dropped sharply over the summer, opinion polls suggest.

The new poll also said the Golden Dawn party was on course to win 6 percent of votes, while 10.5 percent of Greeks were undecided.

“We’ve made a tough choice to not lead the country to a national disaster,” Tsipras told a crowd during a speech on the campaign trail on the island of Crete.

“We are proud we gave this battle all these months, defending Greek people’s rights.”

The poll showed that Independent Greeks will not win enough votes to pass the 3 percent threshold to enter parliament, while the Popular Unity party, a hard-left splinter group that broke from Syriza last month, will get 4 percent.

A quarter of the people polled would like to see a coalition government made up of Syriza, New Democracy and other parties.

Writing by Matthias Williams; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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