By Ian Bell-A survey conducted by MRB pollsters for Sunday newspaper Real News showed that if Greek elections were held now Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s conservative New Democracy Party would get 29.2 percent versus 27.8 percent for the anti-bailout SYRIZA party.
The Greek Nationalists Golden Dawn ranked third with 11.6 percent, the poll conducted in January 22-24 showed.
Golden Dawn is led by Nikolaos Michaloliakos and has grown considerably since its inception in 1993 to a widely known and controversial Greek political party with nationwide support.
Michaloliakos began the foundations of what would become Golden Dawn in 1980.
It first received widespread attention in 1991, and in 1993 registered as a political party. It temporarily ceased political operations in 2005 and was absorbed by the Patriotic Alliance. The Alliance in turn ceased operations after Michaloliakos withdrew support.
In March 2007, Golden Dawn held its sixth congress, where Party officials announced the resumption of political activism. At local elections on November 7, 2010 Golden Dawn got 5.3 percent of the vote in the municipality of Athens, winning a seat at the City Council.
In some neighbourhoods with large immigrant communities it even reached 20 percent.
The party ran a campaign during the Greek national elections of 2012 based on concerns for unemployment, austerity and the economy, as well as virulent anti-immigration rhetoric, which gained a large increase in support from the Greek electorate.
It received seven percent of the popular vote, enough for the party to enter the Hellenic Parliament for the first time with 21 seats. Following a second election in June, this was reduced slightly to 18 seats.
Another survey conducted by Alco for newspaper Proto Thema in the same period showed New Democracy moving into first place for the first time since national polls in June.
If elections were held now it would get 24.9 percent versus SYRIZA’s 23.4 percent, Alco showed.
Questions still remain over whether the coalition can continue to implement a reform program that has sent unemployment to the highest level in the European Union.