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Athens and Thessaloniki with Socialist mayors, the opposition took the power in Piraeus

14 November 2010 / 22:11:37  GRReporter
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The second election round for local authorities yesterday greatly rearranged the map of local government in Greece. The new mayor of Athens is George Kaminis – the first Socialist mayor of Athens in 24 years. Kaminis, a former ombudsman of the country, won the battle that most Greeks thought of previously lost. He stood up against the incumbent mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis of New Democracy, who enjoyed significantly high rating, and succeeded to win because of his behaviour of technocrat and cold-blooded professional. Kaklamanis relied on negative campaign against the PASOK government and especially against its policy on immigration and lost. New Democracy’s leaders did not support Kaklamanis enough. They spent the election week supporting another candidate of the party – Vassilis Kikilias for the Attica area – and they somehow did not judged properly the situation in Athens, which is reflected in the outcome.
   Today's elections action proved to be played in Thessaloniki, where the secure victory of the candidate of the right Costas Giulekas slipped beneath his hands and fell into Giannis Boutaris’ hands who was backed by PASOK. Boutaris had turned against the despotism of the Thessaloniki Metropolitan Antim and called him mujahedeen in Orthodox cassock. Antim traditionally supports the candidate of the New Democracy. Thing went so far as to the Father say that Boutaris will not have a look-in the City Hall in Thessaloniki as long as he is alive. Of course, residents of the second largest Greek city had the final say and they said it but it will be interesting to track the relationship between Boutaris and Antim from now on.

Reverse is the change in Piraeus where the almost certain PASOK candidate for mayor Yiannis Mihas lost from the New Democracy candidate Vassilis Mihalolyakos. The mayor of the biggest Greek port so far was the former basketball player and member of PASOK Panagiotis Fasoulas. The Socialists, however, surprisingly did not support him but Yannis Mihas. Mihas did very well in the first round, but the right wing united against him in the second and beat him.
   In Attica, the expectations for the Socialist-backed Yiannis Sgouros to win, who convincingly beat New Democracy’ candidate Vassilis Kikilias, have confirmed. Kikilias candidacy was very flimsy, it could not motivate even regular New Democracy voters and its leader Antonis Samaras spent much time in fruitless efforts to launch him before the voters. On the other hand, Sgouros was restrained, moderate and logical in his speeches and won easily.

The ruling PASOK party of the Prime Minister George Papandreou won the elections in 8 out of 13 districts of Greece - Western Greece, North Aegean, South Aegean, Peloponnese, Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Attica, Crete and Central Greece. The opposition New Democracy imposed in the remaining 5 districts - Central Macedonia, Epirus, Western Macedonia, Thessaly and the Ionian Islands. In addition to surprising results yesterday's elections will be remembered with record voters’ opt-out as it reached 54 percent for all of Greece and for areas like Attica and Athens and Piraeus municipalities the figure exceeded 60 percent.
   "Neither of the two major parties PASOK and New Democracy have a reason to celebrate tonight," said the independent MP and former Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis. According to her, the issues the parties have chosen to make priorities in the election race are different from those the people in Greece are actually concerned. Dora Bakoyannis was longtime member of New Democracy, Mayor of Athens for two terms and foreign minister in the government of Costas Karamanlis. She was expelled from the party several months ago because she supported the conclusion of the agreement with the International Monetary Fund. Bakoyannis will found her own party on November 21.

Tags: local elections Athens Georgeous Kaminis Thessaloniki Yannis Boutaris politics
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