Dora for mayor! Will this candidacy rock the boat?

It’s now official. As of Friday, March 29, Dora Bakoyianni is a candidate for mayor of Athens in the municipal elections this coming October. Her decision to serve the New Democracy party, of which she has been a leading figure, from City Hall, as well as the support of ND leader Costas Karamanlis, is politically significant in several ways. Bakoyianni, one of the most dynamic of ND’s 40-somethings, was inducted into politics by her father, former prime minister and ND’s honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis. After taking a degree in in public law at Athens Law School, and further studies in political science and communication at the University of Munich, followed by her marriage to the journalist and later parliamentary deputy for Evrytania, Pavlos Bakoyiannis – who was gunned down by November 17 terrorists in September 1989 – Dora entered politics, winning the Evrytania seat. She was sworn in as minister to the prime minister in October 1990, and subsequently as culture minister. In the last parliamentary elections of April 9, 2000, she received the highest number of votes in Athens’s first electoral district. Also elected in the same district was Christos Papoutsis, PASOK’s current mayoral candidate and a former European commissioner. Outgoing Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos was also a ND cadre, elected mayor with ND’s support in both his runs for office. Avramopoulos has now formed his own party, the Movement of Free Citizens, with which he will contest the next parliamentary elections. He has not yet made known which candidate he will be backing to take his place and act as the city’s host for the 2004 Olympics. Those who think that Dora Bakoyianni will sweep the polls in October can already see her up there with Athens 2004 President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, who, as you might recall, resigned as parliamentary deputy for ND to marry Theodoros P. Angelopoulos, with whom she has had two children, Panayiotis and Dimitris, and from a previous marriage, a daughter Carolina. Bakoyianni, now married to businessman Isidoros Kouvelos, has two children from her marriage to Pavlos Bakoyiannis, Alexia and Costas. During Bakoyianni’s visit to Washington, accompanying her father, who was then prime minister, on his visit to meet President George Bush, and the group went into the Jacqueline Kennedy Rose Garden for the official photographs, Bush gave Dora a fatherly kiss on the cheek, a photo which is certainly worth a foreign minister’s post if ND wins the next parliamentary elections. However, Dora has decided to serve her country from City Hall. Her father recently said to Helbi that his daughter would do much for culture at the head of the municipality of Athens if she chooses to. No one is saying «if she wins.» It is being said that her brother Kyriakos will run for Parliament in Athens second electoral district. «Politics with a vision» at Athens Town Hall means conserving the few remaining traditional buildings, a dynamic campaign to bring back the Parthenon Sculptures, more green spaces, more day nurseries to help working mothers and generally, a more European conception of administering Athens – issues far more important than the last one raised by the outgoing mayor, namely to have the municipal police join in the Independence Day parade. Athens Prefect Eleni Besbea did not issue them with the necessary permit and was there to make sure they did not disobey. As a former culture minister, Bakoyianni will have her own ideas regarding an art or music Olympiad, alongside the Cultural Olympiad. Many things might change, but the final word will come from the voters. The Athens bourse benchmark general index ended off 0.07 percent at 2,280.72 points and fell 1.5 percent for the week overall. The market was closed yesterday for the Western Good Friday holiday.

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