Pro-bailout ND party leading leftists - Greek poll
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's pro-bailout New Democracy (ND) party is ahead of the anti-bailout SYRIZA party in the run-up to a June 17 parliamentary election that may decide whether the debt-laden country remains in the euro, a poll showed on Thursday.
The poll, by DATA RC, showed that support for the conservative ND party was 24.5 percent versus 22.1 percent for SYRIZA, the radical leftist party that says it wants Greece to stay in the euro while ditching the international bailout and the tough austerity measures that go with it.
The poll was conducted nationwide on May 28-30.
Stripping out undecided voters and those who will not vote if an election was held today, the same poll said ND would get 28.4 percent against SYRIZA's 25.6 percent and that seven parties would make it into parliament.
The outcome of next month's election - which has ramifications for the future of the wider euro zone as well as just Greece - remains finely balanced, however, as different polls in recent days have produced highly contradictory results.
Three polls released on Wednesday showed parties for and against a bailout neck-and-neck or very close to each another.
The contradictory forecasts are unsettling markets and politicians who fear that a win by the radical SYRIZA party would force debt-laden Greece out of the single currency, possibly in a chaotic fashion.
With concerns about the level of debt in other euro zone countries such as Spain and Portugal growing, some European policy makers fear a disorderly "Grexit" could trigger a domino effect, sapping confidence in the single currency at a time when the currency bloc is struggling to defend its credibility.
Greece was forced to call the June 17 vote after a parliamentary election on May 6 left parliament divided evenly between groups of parties that support and oppose austerity conditions attached to a 130 billion-euro rescue package agreed with lenders in March.
The subsequent failure of any party to form a workable coalition government, and the success of SYRIZA, which came second, sent shock waves through Europe and threw Greece's future in the single currency into doubt.
The contradictory nature of recent opinion polls has left political analysts wary of predicting the final result in what is shaping up to be a gripping close-run contest.
Warning that poll results should be treated cautiously because of the volatility of voter mood, analysts have said a sea-change in the political landscape and a fifth year of recession and record unemployment are stretching voters' party loyalties to their limits.
EU leaders have warned Greece of the consequences of renouncing the bailout conditions, saying they will pull the plug on new funding - a move that would lead to Athens' rapid bankruptcy and an ignominious exit from the single currency.
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