Photos: personal archive
It is certainly particularly important for the parties that the largest number of voters take part in the elections that will predetermine the future of Greece at the most critical time for the past 35 years. For years, major cities, especially Athens, have been creating and offering job opportunities at the expense of the towns in the countryside. As a result, many people left their hometowns to settle in the capital.
However, they are still interested in what happens there and continue to vote in their home constituencies. For their part, candidates for deputies, many of whom live in the capital, organize meetings with these "immigrant" voters - to convince them to vote for them.
In the early evening on Monday, residents of Athens, who came from the region of Arcadia, Peloponnese, began to fill the hall of their cultural centre located at an intersection with Patission Street. They gathered there to hear the election speech of the New Democracy candidate for deputy, Panagiotis Karvelas, as it was intended only for them.
An esteemed dentist and a member of various professional associations, he is one of the relatively young people who are running for the first time and are preparing to infuse fresh blood into the veins of Greek politics. Members of the Association of Dentists attended the meeting to support him.
"Politics needs young people. Panagiotis travelled throughout Arcadia to take a close look at every issue and I'm sure he will take care of our abandoned area," said a journalist from the local media. Then, he turned to the candidate and reminded him that the people of Arcadia will judge him.
At the beginning of his speech, Panagiotis Karvelas said that Greek voters have three choices. "The first is to vote for smaller parties that oppose the memorandum. This choice will lead the Greek economy to certain death. The second choice is to prefer the policy PASOK has pursued in the last three years. This would mean keeping the large public sector to the detriment of the private sector. I.e. the Greek economy will be doomed to a slow death. The third choice is the one offered by New Democracy and it is development. Without it, the country will not emerge from the severe crisis."
He said that a coalition government between his party and PASOK is not possible, "because if it was possible, they would have formed one by now." He said he had decided to participate in the elections at this difficult time for Greece to help prevent a new wave of emigration of young people abroad. "Greece, Arcadia and my family have experienced three major waves of emigration. Today, we face the danger of losing the most dynamic part of Greek society," said Panagiotis Karvelas.
He then presented his proposals for the development of different regions in Arcadia, in which an intensive process of depopulation has been ongoing. "Today, Kinouria is completely separated from the basin of the southern Aegean. Development there may come through the establishment of a new tourist industry and roads to connect it with the coastal areas. In the town of Megalopoli, which is anyway a regional centre, there are signs of improvement, but it is not enough. A high-tech industry could create many jobs and its creation is quite realistic, because there are many qualified people there."
For the region of Gortinia, he proposed a model of development that will not harm the history, environment and people there. In Mantinia, which is known for its local varieties of grapes and aromatic wines, he suggested intensive agricultural development.
At the end, Panagiotis Karvelas said that the participation of all voters in the elections is more than urgent. "I know that many of us find it difficult to go to our hometowns and transport costs are very high. But non-participation in elections will bring nothing good. We must all pull ourselves together in order to make new things happen in politics and in our lives."
Comments of approval followed the applause. The people attending paid particular attention to the proposals for local development and stated that if they are carried out, many young people will return to their hometowns.