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Communists jockeyfor position in Greece's coming national election

By Leigh BruceSpecial to The Christian Science Monitor / April 5, 1985



Athens

The tactics and success of the pro-Moscow Communist Party (KKE), and to a far lesser extent the Eurocommunists (KKEs), will have a determining influence on the outcome of Greece's June election. In the last national election in October 1981, the KKE received 11 percent of the vote and 13 seats in the 300-seat Parliament. The KKEs did not win a single seat.

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Still, the communists have significant influence, thanks to their large representation in the trade unions and their image among many young voters as the heroes of the anti-Nazi resistance during World War II.

It is widely believed in Greece that many communists or communist-leaning voters cast their ballots for Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou's party in order to insure the defeat of the conservatives who had ruled Greece -- virtually uninterrupted -- since World War II.

But the prime minister has done little to reward them. Communists dismiss his pro-Soviet rhetoric on foreign-policy issues. As evidence that he is no leftist, they point to his renewal of an accord on United States military bases in Greece and to his decision not to withdraw from the European Community and NATO.

Political observers say it is significant the communists have not called off the series of strikes that have damaged the prime minister's image in recent months. In the next election, say these sources, the Communist Party will seek to prevent a ``useful vote'' for him. They hope thus to gain sufficient strength to give themselves maximum leverage on Papandreou should he win -- and a more significant role in the opposition should he lose.