ATHENS (Reuters) - Most Greeks want their country to stay in the euro zone but only about half believe it will manage to do so, an opinion poll showed on Saturday.
After months of often acrimonious negotiations, Greek hopes are rising that euro zone finance ministers will on Monday endorse a 130-billion-euro bailout that Athens needs to avoid bankruptcy next month when major debt repayments fall due.
One survey by pollster MRB to appear in Sunday’s Realnews newspaper showed that 72.7 percent of Greeks want the country to stay in the single currency but only 48.8 percent believe it will manage to do so in the next two years.
Of those polled, 90.6 percent expect more austerity measures on top of those agreed for the new bailout, with 53.1 percent saying the 3.3 billion package of budget cuts voted last week was necessary to avert bankruptcy.
Some 59 percent saw a need for an election either immediately or by April.
If elections were held now, Greece’s two biggest parties - Socialist PASOK and its conservative coalition partner New Democracy - would not gather more than 27.2 percent of the vote.
Twenty percent of those surveyed said they would vote for a party led by technocrat Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, against 67 percent who said they would not, according to a poll by ALCO pollsters for the Proto Thema newspaper.
The poll, carried out between Feb 14-16, found that 61 percent of Greeks want an election to be held in April or May, while 29 percent want Papademos’ term to be extended.
New Democracy would come first with 18.3 percent of votes, far short of an absolute majority. The Democratic Left party would come second with 8.8 percent and Socialist PASOK and communist KKE ranked joint third with 8 percent each.
As many as 62.9 percent of voters want a coalition government to rule after an election, a poll by MARC showed.
Parties to the left of the political spectrum - the communist KKE, the Left Coalition and the Democratic Left - are gaining ground among voters, together gathering 27.1 percent. Those undecided or not intending to vote made up 31 percent.
Reporting by George Georgiopoulos and Karolina Tagaris