PM shows support for local poll candidates

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras continued on Wednesday to provide a public show of support for New Democracy’s candidates in May’s local elections as the conservative party gears up for the contest.

A day after he visited Piraeus to openly show his support for the incumbent mayor of the port city, Vassilis Michaloliakos, Samaras met with Aris Spiliotopoulos, the New Democracy lawmaker who will be competing for the Athens mayorship, and Yiannis Ioannidis, who will run for governor of Central Macedonia.

In Athens and Central Macedonia the New Democracy candidates will be up against party members who have defied Samaras and will be running as independents – Nikitas Kaklamanis in the capital and Apostolos Tzitzicostas in northern Greece. Samaras is therefore keen to show that he is fully behind the conservative hopefuls.

However, the meetings were also about developing a strategy for the local elections, which will be held on May 18 and 25. This includes trying to ensure that as few municipal and regional councilors as possible ditch New Democracy in favor of running with Kaklamanis and Tzitzicostas.

Twenty conservative lawmakers on Wednesday asked the government to publish the list of local government officials with alleged tax irregularities. The independent body responsible for checking derivation of wealth (“pothen esches”) forms found that a number of officials were guilty of tax offenses.