Local Elections in Greece
No snap elections , Socialists survived, 40% absention rate, 9% invalid votes
08. November 2010. | 07:31
Source: Emg.rs, ANA
In an announcement late on Sunday night, Prime Minister George Papandreou said that he would not lead the country to early general elections. Speaking after the first solid results in local government polls began to emerge, the premier stressed that the result confirmed that people still wanted the changes they had voted for a year ago.
The prime minister stressed that Greece needed to operate with a different outlook and fulfil its obligations, meeting the challenges together. He stressed that he had undertaken the country's helm at a difficult time and that the effort underway was the effort of all Greeks, not just that of the government.
"At this difficult time, we succeeded," he emphasised, adding that there was no easy way and no magical solutions.
Papandreou expressed concern over the high levels of abstention during the regional and municipal elections, urging those that had abstained to cast their vote in the second round of run-off elections.
He also appealed to social partners, stressing that this was a national effort that had no room for petty party politics and attitudes.
For yet another electoral battle in Greece, 'none of the above' proved the clear winner; four in 10 disenchanted voters preferred to stay home on election Sunday rather than head for the polling booths to vote for local government officials in municipalities and regions.
With 40 percent of the vote counted in the early hours of Monday, the abstention rate in regional elections was 40.02 percent, while blank or spoiled votes posted another record at 9 percent.
The results of Sunday's municipal and regional elections in Greece at 1:00 a.m. on Monday morning continued to record high rates of abstention nationwide and especially in key electoral constituencies, including the Attica region and the municipalities of Athens and Thessaloniki.
In the crucial election for Attica regional authority chief, with 33.87 percent of the vote counted and an estimated voter turnout of 55.1 percent, PASOK-backed candidate Yiannis Sgouros was in the lead with 24.10 percent of valid votes, versus 20.43 percent for main opposition New Democracy-backed candidate Vassilios Kikilias. Rebel PASOK candidate Yiannis Dimaras, widely seen as opposing the EU-IMF memorandum was third with 15.82 percent.
In Athens, the largest municipality in the country, ND-supported Athens mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis appeared to be heading toward re-election with 35.04 percent of valid votes at 1:00 a.m. with 40.2 percent of votes counted. He was tailed by George Kaminis, the candidate backed by PASOK, with 28.50 percent of the vote. The clear winner, however, was abstention since participation by Athens voters stood at record lows of just 41.84 percent.
In Thessaloniki, the second-largest Greek city after the capital, participation in the election stood at 53.43 percent. With 39.27 percent of the vote counted, ND-backed candidate Costas Gioulekas was ahead with 38.59 percent of the valid votes and Yiannis Boutaris, the candidate backed by ruling PASOK, was second with 33.08 percent of the vote.
In Piraeus, Yiannis Mihas backed by PASOK was in the lead with 30.46 percent and second place went to ND-backed Vassilis Mihaloliakos with 23.04 percent.
In the regional elections, the PASOK-backed candidate Yiannis Maheridis won outright in the Southern Aegean with 50.34 percent but no clear winner had emerged in the remaining 12 regions during the first round.
Ruling PASOK candidates had come first in Attica, Western Greece (43.66 pct vs 26.39 pct for runner-up), Crete (49.33 pct vs 18.79 pct for runner-up), Peloponnese (42.24 pct vs 40.62 pct for runner-up) and Central Greece (39.61 pct versus 35.62 pct for runner-up).
ND-backed candidates were in the lead in Eastern Macedonia & Thrace (41.55 percent against 41.34 for PASOK), in the North Aegean (38.32 percent against 36.55 percent for PASOK), Western Macedonia (37.78 pct versus 32.47 pct for PASOK), Epirus (43.71 pct vs 37.18 pct for PASOK), Thessaly (38.62 pct vs 34.25 pct for PASOK), Ionian Islands (28.93 pct vs 26.85 pct for PASOK) and Central Macedonia (43.61 pct vs 30.99 pct for PASOK).
In the regions where no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote during the first round of the elections there will be a run-off election between the top two candidates in the first round on November 14.
Similarly, roughly a third of all municipalities elected a mayor in the first round and most of those elected were independents running in relatively small communities. Here also, there will be a run-off election between the top two candidates in the second round.