Early this morning were announced the first results of the local elections first round based on over 90 percent of the votes processed. Only the race in South Aegean ended in the first round where the PASOK’s nominee prevailed convincingly. Socialists have good chances to win in 5 more regions – Western Greece, the Island of Crete, the Peloponnese, Continental Greece and Attica. The nominees of the opposition New Democracy take the lead in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, North Aegean, Western Macedonia, Epirus, Central Macedonia, Thessaly and the Ionian Islands.
Surprisingly, it appears that Giannis Sgouros from the ruling socialist party takes the lead by over 23 percent of the votes in the Attica region, which is the largest electoral unit in the entire European Union. Second is the New Democracy nominee Vassilis Kikilias who was supported by over 20 percent of the voters. George Dimaras, who was held up as favourite, is third with 18 percent of the votes in his favour. Dimaras belongs to PASOK but voted against the conclusion of the agreement with the International Monetary Fund. He was expected to ‘gain’ the protest vote against the painful economic reforms. When it became clear that this was not the case, George Dimaras announced he would leave the Parliament on January 1, 2011. Due to the large size of the region, observers stress that elections there resemble more parliamentary than local vote.
The representatives of New Democracy Nikitas Kaklamanis and Kostas Giulekas have convincing lead in the two most ‘prestigious’ municipalities in Greece – Athens and Thessaloniki. However, analysts note that for the first time PASOK managed to win so many votes in the first round in Athens, where its nominee George Kaminis gained 25 percent of the votes. An interesting detail is that for the first time a representative of the racist organization Golden Dawn will become a councilor in the Athens mayoralty with 5.6 percent of the votes. In the area of Saint Panteleimon Square, where illegal immigrants in the Greek capital are accommodated, approval for the organization has reached double-digit percentage. The socialists, however, retain their lead in the battle for the town hall in Piraeus, where their nominee Yiannis Mihas takes the lead.
The Prime Minister George Papandreou said in a special statement at night that he was pleased with the results of the first round of the local elections. He said they show the Greek people clear determination to continue with reforms and therefore he would not dissolve the Parliament and would not schedule early parliamentary elections.