SYRIZA's support grows, laws targetting social crisis drafted

February 28, 2015
An anti-austerity protest in Athens. A poll found 68% of people approve of how the SYRIZA government negotiated with its credito

Support for the Greek government headed by radical left party SYRIZA is growing, new polls show. The polls also found high support for SYRIZA's negotiations with its creditors, which secured a deal to extend its loans package by four months.

The deal came with significant concessions to the institutions that have imposed austerity on Greece, which led to strong criticisms from SYRIZA's Left Platform.

However, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said it will allow Greece to begin rolling back the austerity measures that have caused a social crisis in the southern European nation. polls published on February 28 showed a 76% approval rating for the government, with 68% satisfied with how it negotiated with Greece's creditors.

It also found SYRIZA was polling 42.1%, up from the 36.5% it won in the January 25 elections. A Metron poll put SYRIZA's support as high as 47.6%.

Members of SYRIZA's Left Platform have criticised the government for refusing to consider a "grexit" -- leaving the euro and returning to the drachma -- but the February 28 poll found 81% of people support staying in the euro.

In a televised address to his cabinet on February 27, Tsipras outlined the content of the first four draft laws his government would take to parliament in coming days, said the next day. said the laws would grant 300,000 households living in poverty to receive free electricity and meal tickets, and subsidised accommodation for up to 30,000 people.

The laws include debt relief for the 3.7 million people and small- or medium-sized enterprises that owe up the state up to 5000 euros, but are unable to pay, allowing them to pay gradually in up to 100 instalments. At the same time, the government plans to crack down on tax evasion by the wealthy.

Another draft law seeks to protect houses worth up to 300,000 euros from foreclosure.

One particular significant law seeks to re-open state broadcaster ERT, closed by the previous government, causing hundreds of job losses. The move sparked widespread outrage and ERT workers occupied their workplace in protest.

Tsipras also said his government would not eek a new bailout, but would keep pushing for debt relief.

[Green Left's European correspondent Dick Nichols, who was in Athens for SYRIZA's election, is in the middle of a "Greece eyewitness" speaking tour across the country. Over the next few weeks, he will speak in Hobart, Sydney, Newcastle, Armidale, Brisbane, Cairns and Perth. See details here.]

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