NEWS

Final round of voting

The second and final round of the municipal and regional elections take place tomorrow, with few surprises expected after last Sunday’s voting. The ruling PASOK party spent the intervening week pressing home the point that its candidate for the Athens-Piraeus «super-prefecture» appeared to have taken an unassailable lead, whereas New Democracy concentrated on its candidates’ showing across the country, with officials saying they hoped to increase the 27 prefectures they won in 1998 to between 30 and 34. ND leader Costas Karamanlis appealed to voters across the political spectrum yesterday, saying, «We consider our opponent the problems that people around us have, the problems that have no (political) color, that affect citizens whatever their ideological orientation. We appeal to all Greeks.» PASOK General Secretary Costas Laliotis declared that ND’s «strategic effort to turn the local elections into a direct party confrontation has failed.» He called for a vote «against the Right,» and for a «democratic, majority current.» The strength of the two major parties appeared to be roughly unchanged from 1998, when ND wrested most of the country’s 57 prefectures from the government and consolidated the conservatives’ hold on major cities. ND’s candidate for Athens mayor, Dora Bakoyianni, is expected to win easily; some ND officials estimate she will get around 60 percent. A similar result is expected for ND’s candidate for mayor of Piraeus, incumbent Christos Agrapidis. In Thessaloniki ND’s incumbent, Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, won outright in the first round, clearing the necessary 50 percent, as did ND’s candidate for Thessaloniki’s prefect, Panayiotis Psomiadis. PASOK sources say the party expects its candidate for the Athens-Piraeus prefecture, Fofi Yennimata, to get about 58-60 percent tomorrow. But her own staff believe that she will get about 4-5 percent less, predicting further ND support for the conservatives’ candidate, Yiannis Tzannetakos. Last Sunday, Yennimata got 40.1 percent, Tzannetakos 26.7 percent and extreme right-wing populist Giorgos Karadzaferis 3.6 percent. ND officials believe that about 35 percent of those who voted for Karadzaferis will vote for Tzannetakos this round. Sunny weather is forecast for most of the country. Any voters who need information regarding the voting or the electoral rolls can call 1464 or visit the Interior Ministry website at www.ypes.gr