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Greece’s Ruling Conservatives Triumph in Local Elections

Three months after winning the Greek parliamentary elections, the ruling conservative New Democracy party, ND, has maintained and even increased its support in Sunday’s local elections.

In the first round of the local elections, regional governors are elected in the regions of Attica, Western Greece, Epirus, Central Macedonia, Crete, South Aegean and Central Greece.

In six of these seven regions, the winners were backed by ND. On the island of Crete, the winning candidate was from the centre-left PASOK, but who ND also supported. No candidates from the left-wing SYRIZA party has made it to the second round of the local elections.

“Citizens have reaffirmed their trust in New Democracy and the choices it made,” said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, after the announcement of the results.

PASOK emerged as the second force in the local elections. Its main objective in these elections was to strengthen its vote, after registering an increase in the recent parliamentary elections.

“PASOK continues its steady upward trajectory. It is clearly the second power in local government by a large margin,” said PASOK leader Nikos Androulakis.

SYRIZA scored poorly in the local elections. It was the first time since 2014 that a SYRIZA candidate did not make it to the second round for the Athens Municipality.

The new president of SYRIZA, Stefanos Kasselakis, spoke about the need for renewal of the party and made an opening to PASOK, calling for support for PASOK’s candidate for the Athens mayorship, Haris Doukas, against the incumbent mayor, the PM’s nephew, Kostas Bakoyannis.

“The renewal of yesterday begins tomorrow! Tomorrow we are building a new, great progressive faction, and we will highlight new faces, new executives, with our values, who will want to contribute to the country,” said Kasselakis

“Our party is open to all citizens who want to contribute. Self-government should not be a matter of the last month or two months. It must be an ongoing issue. And indeed, SYRIZA, as I said in my pre-election campaign, did not have a large presence in the social fabric of the country,” he added.

The turnout was around 52.50 per cent. The abstention rate in the Municipality of Athens, one of the largest municipalities, was close to 70 per cent.

The Communist Party of Greece, KKE, saw its percentage of votes rise by 4 points. Political experts said that the increase likely came from voters who previously voted for SYRIZA.

“The prestige and trust in the KKE are rising… we can say that a current of questioning the dominant politics, its class character in favour of capitalist interests, is stabilizing and strengthening, slowly but surely,” KKE’s leader Dimitris Koutsoumpas said on Sunday night.

In the Municipality of Athens, elections will be repeated next Sunday, on October 22. Bakoyannis is ahead by 41.35 per cent against Doukas on 14.20 per cent. SYRIZA’s candidate, Kostas Zachariadis, is in third place with 13.36 per cent and KKE’s Nikos Sofianos is on 12.88 per cent. The candidate of the new far-right party Spartans, Ilias Kasidiaris, who is serving a 13-year prison sentence for his leading role in the now banned neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, has gathered 8.3 per cent support.

Meanwhile, supreme court prosecutor Georgia Adelini said the court will investigate a recent homophobic statement about Kasselakis, who is openly gay, made by the re-elected Mayor of Volos, in Thessaly, Achilleas Mpeos, supported by ND. Commenting on Kasselakis recent statement in which he expressed a wish to adopt two boys with his partner, Mpeos was cited as mocking Kasselaki’s wish and as uttering an offensive word used in Greek slang to describe gays.

Source : Balkan Insight