Unrest key to students’ votes

Last December’s unrest in Athens and other major Greek cities is likely to cast a shadow over next Wednesday’s student elections, which is normally a rambunctious occasion but this year looks set to attract less interest than usual, according to what groups taking part in the vote have told Kathimerini. Participation in student elections, which first took place in 1974 following the fall of the military dictatorship, usually runs at 70 percent. All the major parties are represented but the feeling this year is that a sizable percentage of students have lost faith in the groups affiliated with political parties and those that will vote will base their choice on the position that student groups took during last December’s unrest. «In these elections, those voting will decide which group has stuck by the students throughout the year,» said Manos Kasselakis, the secretary of New Democracy-affiliated DAP-NDFK, which has dominated the elections for a number of years. «Students will also have as their criteria each group’s stance during the events of last December. »The behavior of some people who want constant protests and universities to be closed has become monotonous and extreme.» PASOK-affiliated PASP believes that the government’s support for private universities will see a swing from last year’s results. «Students will vote based on political criteria,» said PASP secretary Michalis Nikiforos. «They will vote on the future of tertiary education, the problems at universities and not based on who is offering free drinks and excursions.» The leftist groups are hoping that the memory of the events that followed the shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos last December will boost their standing. «Each group’s stance during last December’s event will affect how students vote,» said Angeliki Erotokritou, a member of the independent leftist movement EAAK.

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