Saturday December 20, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
17o C
10o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Ahead of EU vote, local ballots to test Greek government

Ahead of EU elections on May 25, Greece's embattled government faces a first test in municipal and regional elections on Sunday as the country struggles to return to growth following years of economic crisis.

The local elections, to be held on May 18 and 25, will show how much support remains domestically for the conservative-socialist coalition government after two years of unpopular austerity measures.

"Even though the vote has local characteristics, in essence this is a test of forces between those who tolerate the government's policies and those seeking to send a message of protest, says political analyst Thomas Gerakis of Marc institute.

Four years of economic crisis -- and a six-year recession -- have shattered the power of the PASOK socialists and the New Democracy conservatives, the two parties that ruled Greece for the last 40 years, and which currently form the government.

The coalition majority in the 300-seat parliament has dwindled to 152 deputies after successive fiscal measures demanded by Greece's EU-IMF creditors.

Conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras insists the country has finally turned the corner and that recovery is in sight without need for further painful sacrifices.

"The difficulty is over, the only way now is upwards, Samaras told his party lawmakers last week.

Greece is about to register slim growth in 2014 and painful fiscal reforms mandated by EU-IMF creditors finally seem to be paying off.

But this progress has come at a heavy cost -- record unemployment, mounting poverty and a 25-percent decline in the country's overall output.

Voters have flocked to anti-austerity parties, mainly radical left Syriza, which have become the main opposition movement after pledging to scrap many of the austerity reforms adopted in the last four years.

Syriza are focusing their attention on a good result in the European elections, which their 39-year-old leader Alexis Tsipras has termed a referendum on austerity.

But analysts note that they also have a fighting chance in some of the country's main constituencies, including the posts of Athens mayor and governor.

"The main goal for Syriza is for their candidate for Athens governor, Rena Dourou, to beat the incumbent (socialist-backed) Yiannis Sgouros, says political analyst Ilias Nikolakopoulos.

Coupled with a strong European result, winning Athens will enable Syriza to declare victory against the government, he argues.

Syriza leader Tsipras admitted last week: Our goal is (on May 25) to record a major victory... so that on (May 26) the government will leave."

In the first round, Syriza's task appears easier in some areas, including Athens and Thessaloniki, where the conservative camp is fractured.

The neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, under investigation for crimes including assault, illegal arms possession and murder, is also fronting candidates.

Golden Dawn has been allowed by Greek justice to run in the European and local elections as the trials are still pending.

Golden Dawn's spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris is running for the post of Athens mayor, and is expected to score some 12 percent in the first round for a fourth-place finish.

The local vote serves to elect 325 mayors and 13 regional governors. A second round will be held on May 25 where necessary, to be fought among the top two candidates. A result of over 50 percent is required for outright victory.

Voting is compulsory for some 10 million registered Greek voters, but this requirement is no longer enforced by authorities.

[AFP]

ekathimerini.com , Friday May 16, 2014 (16:55)  
Tsipras admits there could be hard days ahead
Public medical centers keeping up despite shortages
Scientists to announce Amphipolis skeleton findings next month
PM to take legal action over allegations of bribery in presidential vote
Workers rush to get early retirement
Nine out of 10 workers who retired in the last four months who had belonged to the former special funds of banks and state corporations that have now been incorporated in the Social Security...
Piraeus Containter Terminal goes from strength to strength
Piraeus Container Terminal, the local subsidiary of Chinese giant Cosco Pacific, is expected to handle a total of over 3 million containers in the January-December period of this year. The J...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
Explosive Barca unfazed by Panathinaikos, bomb scare
Panathinaikos lost 80-67 at home to Barcelona on Friday in a rather meaningless game at the end of the first group stage of the Euroleague, but the encounter will be remembered for the bomb ...
SOCCER
Abidal cuts short playing career at Olympiakos
Former France and Barcelona defender Eric Abidal announced his retirement from football on Friday, a day before his last match. Abidal said he will finish after playing for Olympiakos agains...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
New weapons of diplomacy
Hollywood screenwriters couldnt make it up: That Sony, one of the worlds biggest film producers, would be forced to pull a comedy about the assassination of North Koreas dictator after a ...
EDITORIAL
Oblivious to change
The world around us is undergoing many important changes while we sit around stewing in our own juices. US President Barack Obama is actually talking with Cubas Raul Castro, for example, bu...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Explosive Barca unfazed by Panathinaikos, bomb scare
2. Tsipras admits there could be hard days ahead
3. Public medical centers keeping up despite shortages
4. Workers rush to get early retirement
5. Piraeus Containter Terminal goes from strength to strength
6. Moscovici: Creditor inspections to become less frequent and lighter
more news
Today
This Week
1. Ship with 200 migrants off Pylos towed to Italy after passengers refuse to stop in Greece
2. Independent Greeks MP Haikalis claims attempted bribery for presidential vote
3. Independent Greeks leader backs MP's bribery claims, threatens to release video [Update]
4. Greek PM Samaras confronts peril putting his Greek transformation to vote
5. Former premier Mitsotakis to meet President Papoulias to discuss political upheaval
6. Gov't spokeswoman says bribery claims 'badly-played charade,' heralds legal action if evidence not produced
Today
This Week
1. Juncker warns Greeks against voting 'extreme forces' into power
2. Romanos and the dilemma
3. Samaras summons bond vigilantes with euro exit talk
4. A friendly yet firm message from Pierre Moscovici
5. Europe's drama in Greece needs final act to avoid tragedy
6. High stakes
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.