ND heads for easy victory in Athens

Former health minister Nikitas Kaklamanis is set to be the next mayor of Athens, as he is heading for a landslide victory in next month’s local elections, according to the results of an opinion poll made public yesterday. The New Democracy hopeful will gather 46 percent of the vote, compared to 20.5 percent for his nearest rival, PASOK candidate and former interior minister Costas Skandalidis, according to the poll conducted by VPRC on behalf of Skai TV. Only 7 percent of Athenians are still undecided about which candidate to vote for, the survey suggests. Many of those planning to vote for Skandalidis believe that Kaklamanis is going to take over as Athens mayor in January. VPRC said that 73 percent of respondents think the former health minister will win and only 6 percent believe that Skandalidis can turn the situation around before the October 15 elections. However, the poll indicates that Skandalidis will need to convince voters who traditionally support PASOK to cast their ballot for him because almost 30 percent of the Socialist party’s supporters said they will not follow party lines. If Kaklamanis gains 46 percent of the vote, he will be immediately declared the city’s next mayor, as any candidate gaining over 42 percent of the vote is deemed the outright winner under electoral law. If no candidate gains 42 percent or more, the two highest-ranking hopefuls will be pitted against each other in a runoff vote a week later.