ND ahead in Greece’s two largest cities

Candidates supported by the opposition New Democracy party are expected to easily carry the vote in Greece’s two biggest cities during October’s municipal elections, according to a poll published yesterday. A survey in the Sunday Eleftherotypia found that both Dora Bakoyianni and Vassilis Papageorgopoulos would get over 50 percent of the vote in the first round in Athens and Thessaloniki respectively, thus obviating the need for a second Sunday of polling. The poll, carried out by Opinion between May 13 and 16, gave 51.7 percent to Bakoyianni, the conservatives’ shadow minister for foreign affairs and defense whose father, former Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis, is ND’s honorary chairman. The ruling socialist PASOK party’s candidate, former European Union Commissioner Christos Papoutsis, came second with 21.1 percent, while the populist Democratic Social Movement’s (DIKKI) Yiannis Dimaras was third with 5.9 percent. The Synaspismos (Left Coalition) candidate, Fotis Kouvelis, followed with 4.2 percent. The city’s current mayor, Dimitris Avramopoulos, was elected for two consecutive terms with New Democracy support. In Thessaloniki, the incumbent mayor, Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, is projected to win 57.9 percent of the vote, according to the Eleftherotypia poll. PASOK’s Spyros Vouyias, currently a deputy minister for transport who unsuccessfully ran for the mayoralty of Thessaloniki on the Synaspismos ticket four years ago, came second at 27.4 percent. At a time when the government is trailing ND by 7 percent on average, the municipal and prefectural elections are acquiring considerable political significance. This probably explains the relatively high level of decided voters in the Eleftherotypia poll, which found that 48.6 percent in Athens and 53 percent in Thessaloniki are already «wholly sure» how they will vote in October. Meanwhile, another poll carried out in Athens and published in Saturday’s Ependitis weekly gave Bakoyianni 41.3 percent and Papoutsis 25.6 percent. The survey was conducted by Taylor Nelson Sotres Metrisis between April 18-29.