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The new Mayor of Athens took an oath while demonstrators chanted in front of the City Hall

30 December 2010 / 12:12:43  GRReporter
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Municipal officials, creative minded local organizations and citizens to unite in order Athens to cope with the challenges under the new conditions. This was the call of Mr. George Kaminis who took an oath as the new Mayor of Athens with hand on his heart in solemn ceremony.

Guests that supported Mr. Kaminis in his election campaign and councilors from different parties and organizations gathered in the City Hall and on the square in front angry municipal employees on temporary contracts carrying huge slogans chanted against the dismissals.
Invited guests and city councilors arrived at about 16:30. The former Mayor Mr. Nikitas Kaklamanis appearance that arrived in the City Hall shortly before his successor George Kaminis caused strong whistling. A few minutes later came the Greek TV showman and famous eccentric Elias Psinakis who was elected by New Democracy municipal councilors’ ballot.

The new Mayor and local councilors took a political oath while the former Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis, councilors of his party and Nikos Mihaloliakos of the far-right party Greek Dawn took a religious oath in a ceremony led by Archbishop Ieronim.

"I fully realize the responsibility that we take today and expectations that we foster. I have full awareness of the difficulties we will face in the task we undertake," said the new Mayor. Mr. Kaminis reminded those present at the ceremony that he and his team are bound to make Athens a safe, friendly and nice to live in city, and to change the attitude to the municipal authorities of the city that must be governed under the rules of transparency. Mr. Kaminis stated earlier that he has always fought for greater transparency, meritocracy and openly taking responsibility and said that these will be his guiding principles in the ruling of the city.

"Municipal authorities that take up their duties today are the first that will rule Athens in a terrible crisis, which changed the economic, social and intellectual life of our society. A crisis of lifestyle, actually," added Mr. Kaminis. "I can not imagine that Athens would be fine without the driving forces of artists and culture. I can not imagine that Athens could develop without its scientific research and human resources potential. I can not imagine that Athens could be revived without the active contribution of the creative and original ideas of young people. I do not believe in a town hall that will solve the problems of the city by itself. It is very simple – it just won’t be able do it. I believe in a municipal authority that will trigger the city forces to solve the problems together," finished Mr. Kaminis.

The ceremony was attended by the Deputy Minister of Interior George Dolios, the former Mayor of Athens and Vice President of New Democracy Dimitris Avramopoulos and the Chief Secretary for Immigration Andreas Takis. Mr. Kaminis’ wife - Ms. Dia Anagnostou together with their daughter who was smiling charmingly were sitting on the first row to the rostrum.

The newly elected municipal councilor Petros Konstantinou of Antarsia took a political oath on his obligations. He supported municipal employees on temporary contracts in his statement and stressed that his fraction will fight to repeal the Memorandum. "We will fight for a society not separated in terms of gender, race and nationality," he added. Eleni Portaliou – the radical and explicit municipal councilor from Athens - Open City and Professor in architecture – said that "we should not obey the unconstitutional laws of the Memorandum" and requested the church to separate from state affairs, prompting comments that turned into outright rustling. The ‘clouds’ in the hall were broken by George Amiras from Athens - Open City who appeared in sports clothing with biking gloves and helmet. "One thing is certain - we will fight for sidewalks open to all and bicycles in town," said Mr. Amiras who is the host of the popular TV show We Live in Greece. Municipal councilors from all parties with the exception of only the former Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis made statements after the formal oath taking.

Shouts of protesting City Hall employees but also slogans of the far-right party Golden Dawn members could be heard while the new councilors to the Town Hall were speaking. The former Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis said that what happened during the oath of the Mayor and the 48th councilors "has never be seen before" and added that "it is a shame for the city of Athens history and it is the responsibility of the new municipal authority."

There was strong police presence in front of the City Hall because of the demonstration.  

Tags: NewsSocietyPoliticsMayorOathMunicipal councilorsAthensProtest
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