Just over a month after he won a gripping election race to become Athens mayor, Giorgos Kaminis yesterday appealed during an eventful swearing-in ceremony to the city?s best and brightest to help transform the capital?s fortunes.
?I am fully conscious of the responsibility I am taking on today,? said Kaminis, who ran as an independent with the endorsement of PASOK and the Democratic Left. ?I am fully conscious of the expectations our effort has generated.?
Kaminis?s victory ended New Democracy?s 23-year grip on the City of Athens and has created hope that the former Ombudsman would eschew the politicking of the past to solve some of the problems plaguing Athens. Kaminis made reference yesterday to the problems the city has been experiencing over the past few weeks with trash collection.
The new mayor said that tackling illegal immigration, providing support to store and business owners and boosting the city?s cultural scene were also among his priorities. In addition, he called on citizens to play their part.
?Personally, I cannot envision an effort to change Athens without the mobilization of the forces of the arts and culture,? he said. ?I cannot envision an effort to develop Athens without the commitment of its scientific and research forces. I cannot envision an effort to revive Athens without the active contribution of its young, innovative forces.?
While Kaminis was being sworn in, members of the far-right Chrysi Avgi group gathered outside City Hall in a show of support for their leader Nikos Michaloliakos, who won a seat on the council. Municipal employees on fixed-term contracts that have ended were also protesting. Riot police intervened to ensure things did not get out of hand.