|Monday, 20 May 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 14-05-19
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 19 May 2014 Issue No: 4660
 President Papoulias: Local administration elections the vital lifeblood of democracyPresident of Republic Karolos Papoulias (photo) voted on Sunday at 12.30 pm in the northwestern Greek city of Ioannina.
After casting his vote he made the following statement: Today is a very important day. Local administration elections are the vital lifeblood of democracy. We have a historic tradition in our country. Always the local officials played a very important role in Greece's difficult times. I hope today, with the people vote, to be elected those who want to offer to this country".
 Voter turnout higher than expected, fewer blank/invalid votesVoter turnout in the first round of elections on Sunday held at the same levels as those in the regional and municipal elections of 2010, despite forecasts of lower numbers, and percentages of blank and invalid votes dropped. In regional elections, with 36.8% of votes counted, turnout was 60.5% (over 60.88% in the 2010 elections), while invalid and blank votes reached 7.10% (over 9.10%). In municipal elections, with 30% of votes counted, turnout was 59.30% (over 61.03% in 2010), while invalid and blank votes reached 3.76% (over 5.49%).
 Neck and neck for city of Athens, Attica region raise the stakes as Singular Logic issues predictionsThe battle for the country's largest municipality, Athens, ran close for the top two mayoral candidates, as incumbent Giorgos Kaminis ran with main opposition SYRIZA endorsed candidate Yiannis Sakellaridis, with 21.05% and 20.6% respectively, after as 60% of votes had been counted in the early Monday hours.
According to Singular Logic's forecasts, Kaminis is expected to win the race by a slim margin of one percentage point (or 21.1%, per Singular) over Sakellaridis' 19.9% (per Singular), all surprises excepted.
Third-place Aris Spiliotopoulos (17.05%), a New Democracy candidate, was also in a close race with extreme-right Golden Dawn deputy Ilias Kassidiaris (16.15%), also on a percentage point difference.
According to the latest forecasts by Singular Logic, Rena Dourou (supported by SYRIZA) is expected to win the race for Attica regional director with 23.8% over incumbent Yiannis Sgouros' 22.1%, incumbent Yiannis Boutaris as mayor of Thessaloniki (PASOK and Democratic Left/DIMAR) with 35.8% over Stavros Kalafatis' 26.6%, and Yiannis Moralis (independent) in Piraeus with 33.1% over incumbent Vassilis Michaloliakos' 31.4%.
In the rest of the Greek regions (11), 10 candidates for regional directors are supported by New Democracy, 7 by centre-left, 4 by SYRIZA, while 1 is independent.
 PM Samaras: 'Greek people must vote for stability in May 25 elections'Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, speaking late at night on Sunday to the media about "positive and indisputable results" of the first round of local government elections, said that local government elections would be completed with the second round of elections on May 25, but it was important for Greek citizens to vote in the European Parliamentary elections on May 25.
"Next Sunday we also have the battle of Europarliamentary elections...where we must show that Greece has the stability it has won...It is in the hands of Greeks, either to contribute so the Greek people have the security we will forge ahead with stable steps or let the country slide backwards," he said.
 Rena Dourou, Yiorgos Kaminis ahead in Attica and Athens, respectively, with 9.2% of votes countedMain opposition SYRIZA-supported candidate for Attica regional director Rena Dourou (23.63%) was ahead of incumbent Giannis Sgouros (22.03%), based on 9.2% of all votes counted so far, on Sunday night.
In the Athens mayoral election, with 9.98% of votes counted, Yiorgos Kaminis (supported by PASOK and Democratic Left/DIMAR) was ahead of Gavriil Sakellaridis (supported by SYRIZA), with 21.66% over 19.98%.
 Athens mayor Kaminis calls on residents to vote for him on May 25Incumbent Athens mayor Giorgos Kaminis appealed to city residents to "overcome polarisation and come to vote next Sunday," in comments made late on May 18, the first round of local government elections.
Kaminis is running with the support of PASOK and Democratic Left (DIMAR) and appeared to be leading the race, according to exit polls and preliminary counts.
Addressing himself to Athens residents, the mayor asked them to vote for him in the next round of elections and prevent the turning of Athens "into an arena of clashing party plans, which we have unfortunately seen happen repeatedly in the past." Athens mayor Kaminis confident he will come first in the second round of the local administration elections
Athens mayor Yiorgos Kaminis expressed his confidence that he would come first in the second round of the local administration elections, adding that he was glad his independent candidacy "went above fierce party polarisation."
 Athens mayor Kaminis: The future belongs to the metropolisesCandidate for Athens municipality and current mayor of Athens Giorgios Kaminis made the following statement after casting his vote at Ampelokipi district of Athens.
"The future belongs to the large cities, to the metropolises. Athenians vote for Athens' dignity, for the plan and its perspective.
 Attica regional director candidate Rena Dourou invites all to vote for her in Round II of electionsAttica regional director candidate Rena Dourou, endorsed by main opposition SYRIZA, said late on Sunday after exit polls gave her the lead over incumbent Yiannis Sgouros that citizens should "not be misled" and cast a ballot for her in the second round of elections, on May 25.
"Do not be led astray, because even ministers are showing up in television channels to support the outgoing regional director," she said. "We tell them that we will, all together, acquire the strength for a splendid overturn of power and life with dignity," she added.
 Athens' citizens voted for a big change, Athens candidate mayor Sakellaridis says"The citizens of Athens voted on Sunday for a big change in the city," Athens candidate mayor Gavriil Sakellaridis said. According to Sakellaridis, the result of the first round is a first vindication.
"We believe that those who ignored the huge social problems and implemented the disastrous austerity policies, those who abandoned the city and were identified with the parties of the memorandum, they cannot present themselves as dedicated party candidates," Sakellaridis said adding that the city needs a municipality next to its people.
The percentage of neo-Nazi votes, he said, "proves that there can be no complacency of the democratic citizens. Today, we made the first decisive step," he noted and called on the citizens for a broad alliance in order to bring back the dignity and social protection as main priorities of the municipality and render Athens a sustainable city.
 Piraeus candidate mayor Moralis aims to win in the second round of municipal electionsYiannis Moralis, one of the candidate mayors of the port city of Piraeus, aims to emerge winner in the second round of municipal elections next Sunday, beating the outgoing mayor Vassilis Mihaloliakos.
In statements he offered late Sunday, Moralis said that "Today we made the first step, agitating the waters of Piraeus port. Piraeus turns its back to yesterday. Seven out of ten citizens of Piraeus disapproved the outgoing mayor and his ostensible work... Today I want to address the citizens who didn't vote for us this first Sunday: I want to call them to come join us, so that with respect and dignity we will be able to fight for one more week, in order to create the 'Piraeus Winner'", the name of his political formation.
 Pireaus mayor speaks of scare tactics by oppositionIncumbent mayor of Piraeus Vassilis Michaloliakos expressed optimism for the second round of elections, criticised New Democracy officials for not supporting him.
Michaloliakos, who came second in exit polls, also called on the government to guarantee the normalcy of voting, and to provide security for him and his officers "from the known bouncers" used by some of his political adversaries to spread fear by stationing hecklers outside every election centre.
He also said an illegal rally was held by them the last day of the campaign period despite their having no permit to do so. Despite this, Piraeus residents resisted and 7 in 10 residents said no to the scare attempts by showing up to vote.
 Thessaloniki mayor asks for support in the second round of elections, on May 25Incumbent Thessaloniki mayor Yiannis Boutaris called on all residents of his city, whether they voted for him on Sunday or not, to vote for him in the second round of elections on May 25. According to exit polls on Sunday, Boutaris leads the northern city's mayoral race with a large margin of difference by the second candidate. He is endorsed by PASOK and Democratic Left (DIMAR).
"The result is satisfactory, but will not allow us to rest. That is why I am requesting the vote of all Thessaloniki residents, both those who voted for me and those who did not, in order to win in the second round and give us the right to take a historical step for the city - that is, to express through this victory the local government unity of the whole city," he said.
 Outgoing, candidate Attica prefect Sgouros calls for cooperation and unityThe outgoing and candidate Attica prefect Yiannis Sgouros asked for the support and trust of the citizens "and only the citizens", with a late Sunday statement commenting on the results of the first round of local administration elections.
"First of all, I would like to thank all citizens of Attica for participating in today's electoral procedure... We fought a hard battle, with many obstacles. Many people with old perceptions still see the institution of local administration through political party choice criteria, so that they can take advantage of local administration for their own personal political benefit. We defend the prefecture solely for its local administrative role", noted Sgouros.
Sgouros asked to be voted for in the second round of local administration elections next Sunday. "The problems are many, complex and large. I used to believe and still believe that only through cooperation and unity, can we move forward", he concluded.
 Attica region candidate Koumoutsakos comments on exit poll results to ANA-MPA"Our aim was to win based on a quality strategy of different philosophy and different reason," Attica region candidate prefect George Koumoutsakos said to ANA-MPA on Sunday, commenting on exit poll results.
Asked on what he intends to do in the second round of elections on May 25, the New Democracy-endorsed candidate noted that "there is nothing to say at present." Exit polls showed he came in third.
According to his close associates, Koumoutsakos said he was very pleased with his personal efforts and the impact it had on people.
He also said he has confidence in citizens, thanking all those who honoured and supported this struggle, which was difficult from the start and short.
 Democracy 'deeply rooted in local gov't,' PASOK leader Venizelos saysThe strict partisanship of local government elections failed and it was proven that the democratic side in politics has deep roots in local government, trade unions and other social agencies, PASOK president Evangelos Venizelos said late on Sunday, commenting on the results of local government elections.
Venizelos referred to the problematic high rates garnered by extreme-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) party, stressing that it is every democratic power's obligation to fight strongly against neo-Nazism and violence.
Citizens will select able, tried and hard-working candidates in the next round of elections, he said, while he noted that Greece must give a sense of being progressively stable. He asked citizens to consider political stability and weigh carefully what main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras means when he talks about the May 25 elections, which include Europarliamentary elections, being a referendum.
Stability does not mean stagnation, Venizelos said, and spoke about the restoration of injustices. We must show we are a normal country, like the rest of the eurozone countries, he added.
 Main opposition leader Tsipras: May 25 Euro elections a 'referendum'In a statement offered by main opposition Radical Left Coalition SYRIZA party Alexis Tsipras late on Sunday, he commented that the results of the first round of local administration elections for the candidates the party supported in the Attica prefecture, the Athens municipality, as well as a large number of other prefectures and municipalities, highlight SYRIZA as a strong power in local administration.
For Tsipras, the results of the first round of elections paved a new way in local administration with no historical precedent, i.e. a government party left out of the second round of elections for Attica prefecture and Athens municipality, for which he expressed his conviction that both will "turn page" next Sunday.
In reaction to Premier Antonis Samaras' statement on the outcome of Sunday's first round of local administration elections, Tsipras noted that Samaras conceded that based on local administration ballot results, next Sunday's European Parliament elections jeopardizes the "memorandum government's" future, emphasizing that the European elections will become the referendum that never took place concerning the memoranda.
"Next Sunday will be the first day of a different era", stressed Tsipras, adding that Greece belongs to no one else, apart from its people.
"Next Sunday, our vote will not only count, but will change the country", he concluded in a play on (Greek) words.
 SYRIZA's Tsipras: 'The best goals come in the second round'Following the exit polls in local government elections, main opposition SYRIZA party leader Alexis Tsipras said, "The best goals (in a game) come in the second round."
According to Avghi daily, he made the comment while arriving at party headquarters in Koumoundourou Street, in Athens.
 Democratic Left party leader Kouvelis concerned over far-Right Golden Dawn's election resultsThe leader of Democratic Left party Fotis Kouvelis expressed his satisfaction with the results attained by political formations supported by his party on Sunday's first round of local administration elections.
Kouvelis made a special reference to outgoing Athens candidate mayor Giorgos Kaminis and outgoing Thessaloniki, northern Greece candidate mayor Yiannis Boutaris, noting that the "Democratic Left-Progressive Cooperation" formation guarantees solidarity, as well as social and local growth based on progressive planning.
Democratic Left's leader asked for the citizens' support next Sunday, both in the second round of local administration and the European Parliament elections. He also voiced his concern regarding the results of far-Right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) party, which "creates the obligation to confront this dangerous phenomenon by all democratic powers".
 Independent Greeks' Kammenos considers his party "a modulator of next day"The president of the Independent Greeks (Anexartitoi Ellines) party Panos Kammenos appears to be satisfied with the results - so far - of Sunday's regional and municipal elections, considering his party "a modulator of next day".
According to sources, Kammenos is of the view that the incumbent coalition government's senior partner New Democracy (Nea Dimokratia) party "has crumbled", while estimating that Independent Greeks managed to maintain their power.
 Extreme-right Golden Dawn 'the real winner of elections,' deputy saysGolden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) deputy and Athens mayoral candidate Elias Kassidiaris said that the extreme-right party "is the real winner of elections" on Sunday.
Speaking about preliminary results of the first round of local elections, Kassidiaris noted in a videotaped message the "radical rise of percentages" of his party.
Referring to Athens in particular, the deputy said percentages tripled in Athens, despite "a climate of terrorism, illegal persecutions and with our leader and almost half our deputies in jail without any incriminating fact, with murders of young people outside our offices and in an absolute conspiracy of silence."
"Greeks appreciatd the fact we became their own voice, a voice of truth in a Parliament of corruption. They appreciated that we denounced by name those who looted the public coffers. We did not spare anyone. It was the first time that we called thieves and crooks by their name."
 KKE leader on preliminary results: 'Positive and hopeful message'The results of votes in favour of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) in 13 of Greece's regions and in most of the cities so far are a "positive and hopeful message," party Secretary General Dimitris Koutsoumbas said late on Sunday, following local government elections.
"What is especially negative is the still-high percentage collected by (extreme right) Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) in Athens and in the region of Attica," he added, calling on the Greek people to "condemn parties and combinations, whatever their name, who wanted the Greek people to be incorporated into new mechanisms that were set up after the reorganisation of Greek prefectures, based on the 'Kallikratis' plan, and the European Union strategy for regions."
Koutsoumbas called on the Greek people to "resist the false dilemmas of 'stability and revival' or 'destabilisation' and the false expectations cultivated by the government of New Democracy and PASOK, since stability and revival will relate to large capital, not the people."
On the other hand, "(main opposition) SYRIZA neither wants nor can save the people, or open a new road of overthrowing them."
 Interior Ministry: Current official results for 12 - out of 13 - prefecturesAccording to the Interior Ministry, official voting results for 12 prefectures - excluding the Attica prefecture - are as follows, as at this time (only the two candidates with the largest results are mentioned):
Prefecture of Central Macedonia, northern Greece (13.79% of votes counted): Tzitzikostas Apostolos 32.36%, Ioannidis Yiannis 19.10%
Prefecture of Eastern Macedonia-Thrace, north-eastern Greece (10.07% of votes counted): Pavlidis Georgios 34.07%, Giannakidis Astridis 27.98%
Prefecture of Western Macedonia, north-western Greece (13.11% of votes counted): Dakis Georgios 35.39%, Karypidis Theodoros 28.91%
Prefecture of Northern Aegean, north-eastern Greece (16.67% of votes counted): Kalogirou Christiana 31.98%, Giakalis Athanassios 27.77%
Prefecture of Western Greece (9.73% of votes counted): Katsifaras Apostolos 23.24%, Katsaniotis Andreas 19.72%
Prefecture of Epirus, north-western Greece (13.17% of votes counted): Kahrimanis Alexandros 50.28%, Gerovasili Olga 24.91%
Prefecture of Thessaly, central Greece (11.16% of votes counted): Agorastos Konstantinos 43.46%, Tsilimigas Nikos 16.9%
Prefecture of Ionian Islands, western Greece (16.85% of votes counted): Galiatsatos Theodoros 21.75%, Spyrou Spyridon 21.41%
Prefecture of Crete Island, southern Greece (9.84% of votes counted): Arnaoutakis Stavros 41.61%, Tsolkas Ser. 24.37%
Prefecture of Southern Aegean, south-eastern Greece (16.67% of votes counted): Hatzimarkos Georgios 34.35%, Maheridis Yiannis 34.0%
Prefecture of Peloponnese, south-western Greece (13.87% of votes counted): Tatoulis Petros 43.12%, Voudouris Odysseas 16.41%
Prefecture of Sterea Ellada, central Greece (12.78% of votes counted): Bakogiannis Kostas 43.16%, Apostolou Evangelos 18.77%.
 Local administration elections - exit polls: Municipality of AthensGavriil Sakellaridis, supported by SYRIZA, has a one percentage point lead over Athens mayor Yiorgos Kaminis, supported by PASOK and Democratic Left (DIMAR), according to the exit polls.
The exit poll results for the Municipality of Athens are the following:
Candidate Estimate Range
SAKELLARIDIS, Gavriil 22% 20-24%
KAMINIS, Yiorgos 21% 19-23%
SPILIOTOPOULOS, Aris 17% 15-19%
KASIDIARIS, Ilias 15.5% 14-17%
KAKLAMANIS, Nikitas 8.5% 7.5-9.5%
SOFIANOS, Nikos 7.0% 6.0-8.0%
KAPERNAROS, Vassilis 4.0% 3.0-5.0%
KONSTANTINOU, Petros 1.5% 1.0-2.0%
KONTOULI, Ioanna 1.0% 0.5-1.5%
Other 2.5% 2.0-3.0%
 Local administration elections - exit polls: Municipality of PiraeusPiraeus' candidate mayor Yiannis Moralis has a lead over current mayor Vassilis Mihaloliakos, according to the exit poll released by TV station Alpha.
The exit poll results for the Municipality of Piraeus are the following:
MORALIS, Yiannis 33.5-37.5%
MIHALOLIAKOS, Vassilis 28-32%
DRITSAS, Theodoros 18.5-22.5%
PANTELAKI, Elpida 4-6%
KOUZILOS, Nikolaos 4-6%
VOURAKIS, Iosif 1.5-2.5%
KOLOGEROGIANNIS, Antonis 0.5-1.5%
DIAVOLAKIS, Athanassios 0.5-1.5%
 Exit poll by Kappa Research finds Tzitzikostas, Tatoulis, Agorastos, Arnaoutakis leading in their prefecturesRena Dourou, supported by main opposition Radical Left Coalition SYRIZA party, leads the race for Attica prefecture, according to an exit poll by Kappa Research for newspaper "To Vima". Gavriil Sakelaridis, also supported by SYRIZA, is found to be ahead of the race for the Athens municipality. The same exit poll finds Apostolos Tzitzikostas first with 35.1% in the Central Macedonia prefecture in northern Greece, followed by Giannis Ioannidis with 16.0% and Despina Charalambidou with 15.6%.
In the Peloponnese prefecture Petros Tatoulis comes first with 43.1%, while in Thessalia, central Greece Konstantinos Agorastos is found to lead by 42.5%. In the race for the Crete prefecture Stavros Arnaoutakis leads by 40.4%.
According to the same exit poll, SYRIZA leads next Sunday's European Parliament vote intentions with 27.4%, ahead of the incumbent coalition government's senior partner New Democracy (Nea Dimokratia), which gathers 22.7%.
 Local administration elections-exit polls: Attica regionRena Dourou, supported by SYRIZA, has a 6.5 percentage point lead over current prefect Giannis Sgouros.
The exit poll results for the prefect of the Attica region are the following:
Candidate Estimate Range
DOUROU, RENA 29.0% 27.0-31.0%
SGOUROS, GIANNIS 22.5% 20.5-24.5%
KOUMOUTSAKOS, IOANNIS 15.0% 14.0-16.0%
PANAGIOTAROS, ILIAS 10.0% 9.0-11%
PAFILIS, ATHANASSIOS 9.0% 8.0-10.0%
HAIKALIS, PAVLOS 5.0% 4.0-6.0%
TZIMEROS, ATHANASSIOS 2.0% 1.5-2.5%
GIANNAKAKI, MARIA 2.0% 1.5-2.5%
KOUTSOUMBA, DESPINA 2.0% 1.5-2.5%
GAKIS, ANTONIS 2.0% 1.5%-2.5%
MANTOUVALOS, PETROS 1.5% 1.0-2.0%
OTHER 0.0% 0.0%
 Exit poll results for Thessaloniki mayorThessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris, supported by PASOK and Democratic Left (DIMAR), is leading in the electoral race with over eleven percentage points over Stavros Kalafatis, who is supported by New Democracy, according to the exit polls conducted by "Interview" company for private TV Macedonia, on a sample of 2,000 voters.
The exit poll results for the Municipality of Thessaloniki are the following, with estimates and, in parentheses, ranges following each candidate's name:
BOUTARIS, Yiannis, 37.7% (Range: 35,7 to 39,7%)
KALAFATIS, Stavros, 26,1% (24,1 to 28,1%)
MITAFIDIS, Triantafyllos, 15% (14 to 16%)
MATTHEOPOULOS, Artemis, 6,7% (5,7 to 7,7%)
DELIS, Yiannis, 3,7% (3,2 to 4,2%)
There were 6 additional candidates, with 2.9% and below
 PM Samaras exercised his right to vote in PylosPrime Minister Antonis Samaras voted on Sunday for the local administration elections at the southern Greek city of Pylos.
Leaving the polling station he made the following statement:
Democratically and with unity we are exiting from the crisis.
The premier will depart for Athens within the next hour.
 Venizelos: This day is dedicated to the local communitiesGovernment Vice President, foreign minister and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos exercised his voting right on Sunday at 10.15 am in Thessaloniki for the local administration elections.
After casting his vote Venizelos stated "this day is dedicated to the local communities and to the local administration. The citizens are electing the best mayors and the best prefects. We hope their selection today and next Sunday to be a selection that will help the growth, the employment and the citizens' services on local and regional level.
 Tsipras: Today the people will take the first important stepMain opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras after casting his vote on Sunday for the local administration elections in the Athens district of Kypseli made the following statement.
Tsipras expressed his certainty that today the people "will take the first but important step in order the cities and the regions to change authority. An important step in order Greece to turn page'.
 SYRIZA officials: Exit poll results 'very encouraging'Main opposition SYRIZA party officials said on Sunday that initial results from exit polls of local government elections were "very encouraging", especially the leading in exit polls of candidates Rena Dourou (for Attica regional director) and Gavriil Sakellaridis (for Athens mayor).
The same sources also expressed optimism that SYRIZA candidates in other regions and many municipalities in Greece would qualify for the second round, which is taking place on Sunday, May 25.
At a meeting, the party's Political Secretariat and the section responsible for elections said they would intensify their electoral campaign as of Monday morning, to help as many candidates as possible qualify for the second round of elections and energise the party ahead of European Parliament elections, which are also taking place on May 25.
 DIMAR leader: Citizens vote for a democratic and progressive local authority"The citizens, with their vote, are seeking for a democratic and progressive local administration with solidarity for the society that is suffering" stated Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis after exercising his voting right on Sunday in Athens.
"The local administration is called to exercise its duty, to stand by the citizen and to give solutions to his problems" he noted.
 Independent Greeks leader voted in GlyfadaIndependent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos on Sunday called the voters to condemn Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Government Vice President Evangelos Venizelos' selections after exercising his voting right at the coastal Attica city of Glyfada.
 KKE leader: Vote against the antipopular local authoritiesCommunist Party (KKE) secretary general Dimitris Koutsoumbas voted on Sunday in Athens for the local administration elections.
Koutsoumbas said that "we will fight in order our people to stand on their feet and to create a strong popular opposition against the monopolies, the capital, EU and its governments , against the antipopular local authorities in municipalities and regions" he said after casting his vote.
 Thessaloniki mayor Boutaris: Life goes on regardless of the polls' resultLife goes on regardless of the elections' result, candidate for Thessaloniki municipality and current mayor of Greece's second largest city Yiannis Boutaris said on Sunday after casting his vote.
'In elections you always worry but apart from that, life goes on. Whether we lose or win, life goes on,' he said while he described the pre-election campaign as a calm process.
 New Democracy sourcse: 'No dynamic favouring SYRIZA' in exit poll resultsMain opposition SYRIZA did not do well in the first round of local government elections - based on exit polls - except for the Attica region, sources of New Democracy said on Sunday evening.
Most of the SYRIZA candidates will not make it to the second round, and are likely to come in third or fourth, the sources added.
Referring to exit poll results for SYRIZA-supported Rena Dourou as Attica regional director, the ND sources said her results are lower than the results SYRIZA got in the June 2012 elections, while they are also lower than the combined polls of the other two candidates in the same race. The same, they said, is true for Athens and they stressed there is no dynamic in Greek society overall favouring SYRIZA.
 Stability should be ensured next Sunday, gov't spokesman says"Next Sunday is very important. Each ballot box is different," government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said.
Speaking on private TV station STAR, Kedikoglou said that "the picture in the province, even in a very small percentage, is different from that of Attica. In many cities and regions of the province, we will have good results."
"Stability should be ensured next Sunday," Kedikoglou added.
 Parliament president: 'Too early to judge results'People should not rush to reach conclusions about local government elections from the exit poll results, because it is too early, Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis said on Sunday.
"Some people should not rush to celebrate, nor be disappointed," he said. "We have another Sunday ahead," he added, referring to the second round of local government elections on May 25, which will be held on the same day as Europarliamentary elections. "New Democracy's strategy is that we tell citizens what the problems are and the solutions we propose...Citizens will decide," he underlined.
 Citizens vote for the local administrationThe ballots for the municipal and regional elections opened on Sunday at 7.00 am and the voting process is held normally throughout the country.
According to Interior Ministry's figures the voters are 9,871,733 (4,779,471 men and 5,092,262 women).
The number of citizens that will vote for the first time (over 18) is 108,691.
The ballots will close at 19:00 and the first safe estimation will be announced not before 23:00 on Sunday.
 PM Samaras: Instability not a wound to gov't but vital wound to GreecePrime Minister Antonis Samaras referred to the imminent euroelections in an article to Kathimerini newspaper underlining that the instability that some dream about is not a wound to the government but a vital wound to the country.
Samaras noted that we must realise four things in Greece today. Where we were yesterday, where we are going from here, where we are today and finally which is the greatest danger we are facing at this moment.
The deficit crisis, said Samaras, has ended last year, this year will finally close and the loan crisis along with Greece's credibility crisis adding that the growth that starts will allow us very soon to cover the last years' losses in our standard of living.
We have restored the domestic balances and our credibility abroad, we have disproved all the "Cassandras" that predicted Greece's disaster and Greece is ready to run, to produce income, prosperity and to totally recover its social cohesion and to multiply its power, underlined Samaras.
Regarding the great danger, the premier noted that it is connected with the return "to the crisis from which we escaped. Unfortunately, there are forces that do not want us to get of the quagmire! They attempted in many ways to cancel our up to date course. They did not succeed!
Samaras sternly attacked SYRIZA (main opposition) saying that they did not understand anything. They learned nothing, they still attempt to send Greece back to the same danger that with so many sacrifices and work we managed to avoid. They do not care about politics. They do not care for Greece or Europe or for the society.
Concluding, the prime minister said that in the euroelections we must cancel their (SYRIZA's) plans. The instability they dream of is not a wound to the government but a vital wound to the country. They will not succeed.
 PM on Aris Spiliotopoulos' Athens mayoral candidacyPrime Minister Antonis Samaras on Saturday said that Aris Spiliotopoulos mayoral candidacy moves towards uniting all forces so that there will be no votes wasted.
Samaras stressed that the city of Athens should not be be left to those who want anarchy, while he backed Spiliotopoulos candidacy underlining that it moves towards uniting all forces so that there will be no wasted votes.
 Gov't VP says decisions on Greece's future were taken by former PMGovernment Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Saturday, in an interview with Kathimerini said that all decisions taken by the govenrment in November 2011 and in Cannes Summit belong to former prime minister George Papandreou as nothing was imposed by the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
"What I ask from the citizens is to contribute in securing stability without which we cannot complete our exit from the crisis and the memorandum," Venizelos said underlining that the upcoming elections will determine the country's future prospects.
Venizelos referred to the Cannes Summit in November 2011 and stressed that all political decisions in connection with Greece's future were already taken earlier that year by Papandreou in June 2011 when he had discussed with Antonis Samaras, now the country's prime minister, a possible cooperation with a different prime minister.
The government's vice president said that reports involving him with discussions with Barroso are "funny stories", as he stressed that he only had a discussion with European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn, and not with Barroso who was Papandreou's interlocutor.
"I regard Papandreou as a former prime minister and as a former PASOK president," Venizelos said and added that "I regard him as an active PASOK deputy who is crucial for the government's majority and the stability. I believe that among all Greek politicians, he has historically the greatest and most intense interest to succesfully complete our effort."
 Centre-Left candidates fared "very well" in Sunday's local administration elections, according to PASOKCentre-Left candidates fared "very well" in Sunday's first round of municipal and regional elections, according to sources from junior government coalition partner Panhellenic Socialist Movement PASOK. "The general picture is that [Centre-Left] is here", that Centre-Left candidates originating from the wider Democratic block "have held out " and that they will be present in the second round of local administration elections next Sunday in many prefectures and municipalities.
According to the same sources, PASOK understands that the citizens' message is that they have no more strengths and the party is positively assessing it. In this framework, political stability does not mean stagnation or inactivity, but reciprocation to citizens' anguish and PASOK appears ready to deliver.
 Parties' reactions on EYATH referendum banMain opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) central committee secretary Dimitris Vitsas on Saturday accused the government for "anti-democratic actions" following a document sent by Interior Minister Yiannis Michelakis opposing to the referendum scheduled to be held in connection with the privatization of the Thessaloniki Water Supply and Sewage (EYATH).
"We are witnesses of a government's collective effort, headed by Michelakis, to cancel the already scheduled referendum," Vitsas said and stressed that "Samaras' anti-democratic government, wishes to ban the referendum, while a democratic government would have facilitated the expression of the people's opinion." The citizens' massive participation on Sunday's referendum will cancel the government's plans for privatizing water supply, he said.
Democratic Left (DIMAR) in an announcement regarding the same issue underlined that the people's expression of opinion cannot be stopped by the ministry, while it stressed that water is a social good and it is not for sale, or subject to privatization. Earlier in the day, 11 mayors of the wider Thessaloniki area that are opposed to the EYATH privatization, unanimously decided to place referendum ballots outside the electoral centers, as a response to the ministry's decision to ban the process inside the electoral centers.
 Thessaloniki citizens vote in water company privatisation referendum outside electoral centresMunicipalities of the wider Thessaloniki area have placed referendum ballots over the privatization of Thessaloniki Water Supply and Sewage (EYATH) outside the schools used as electoral centres for local government polls.
The vote is taking place in 11 municipalities with the assistance of volunteers, while European unionists monitor the process. No problems have been reported so far. The results will be announced after the conclusion of the vote by the "Central Election Committee" of the referendum, comprising 15 members of the Thessaloniki Bar Association.
 DIMAR leader foresees early national electionsEarly national elections in 2014 foresees Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis in his interview to PROTO THEMA Sunday newspaper. Kouvelis also ruled out the possibility of cooperation with main opposition SYRIZA.
"I estimate that the negative dynamic from the coming measures will lead the country to early elections in 2014" said Kouvelis and reminded his past statement on elections in which he noted that "the country does not need elections but change of policy" adding that "the recourse to ballots will be necessary if additional austerity measures are imposed. Today, we are in a different environment. Other measures (with the omnibus) came and others are being preannounced (with the Mid-Term Programme). Recourse to ballots will be proved to be a oneway".
 KKE leader: People must ignore the extortion dilemmasCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Dimitris Koutsoumbas said on Saturday that "the people must ignore the extortion dilemmas, the disorientating bipartisan dilemmas and the dispute that is underway these days. Our people must give an answer to New Democracy and PASOK's blackmail that in the name of the economic stability want to continue the same antipopular policy and to main opposition SYRIZA's illusions" during his visit to KKE campaign pavilion in western Attica city of Petropoulis.
"The answer to these dilemmas and to this situation is only the strengthening of KKE in order the people to become powerful, the strengthening of the popular rallying, of the popular alliance in the ballots in order the way against EU, the monopolies and the governments that serve the policies that devastate the popular rights to open."
 KKE comments on court's decision for rehiring Finance ministry's sacked cleaning ladiesThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Saturday in an announcement commented on the rehiring of Finance ministry's cleaning ladies who were placed in a labor pool eight months ago, and said that the employees' struggles can prevent and delay the anti-working class measures.
"There should be no complacency, because it is repeatedly proven that the governments find ways to surpass court decisions," KKE said after an Athens court upheld the cleaners appeal to their layoff.
 Deputy Foreign Minister to visit BrusselsDeputy Foreign Minister Akis Gerontopoulos will visit Brussels on May 19-20 to participate in the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union, according to a ministry announcement.
Gerontopoulos will also meet with expatriate Greek organisations.
 Olympic medallist dies in car accidentRythmic gymnastics Olympic medal winner Anna Pollatou died in a car accident on Saturday on Patras-Pyrgos national road as her car crashed with a truck close to Varda, Elis, Western Greece.
The 31-year-old Olympic winner died instantly while the two passengers of the truck suffered injuries and were transported to Pyrgos Hospital.
"During her short life, Anna Pollatou was devoted to a difficult and noble sport," Culture and Sports Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos said after he was informed regarding the tragic event while alongside Deputy Minister for Sports Yiannis Andrianos expressed their condolences to the family.
Anna Pollatou was born in October 1983 in Cephalonia and beside the Sydney Olympics distinction in 2000, she had won several other medals in various championships and competitions around the world.
 Greek rescue team ready to leave for SerbiaA unit of Fire Brigade's special rescue team is ready to depart immediately for Serbia to participate in the rescue operation and in the restoration of damages created by the heavy floods, following a Citizen Protection and Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias' order.
 Light quake south of CreteA light earthquake measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale was recorded on Sunday at 15:08 south of Zakros of Lasithi region, Crete island.
The tremor's epicentre was located 406 km southeast of Athens in the sea region 22km south of Zakros, according to the Athens Observatory Geodynamics Institute and the Geophysics Laboratory of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
 Mostly fair on Monday:Mostly fair weather and winds from variable directions are forecast for Monday. Wind velocity will reach 4 on the Beaufort scale. Clouds in the northern parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 10C-25C. Possibility of rain in the southern parts, 10C-25C. Clouds over the islands, 15C-23C. Scattered clouds in Athens, 14C-25C; the same for Thessaloniki, 11C-24C.
 The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: First step to reversal.
ETHNOS: The exit polls in municipalities and regions.
KATHIMERINI: Six dilemmas before the triple ballot.
KYRIAKATIKI ELEFTHEROTYPIA: Conspiracy scenarios with George Papandreou the wild card.
KYRIAKATIKOS RIZOSPASTIS: We strengthen KKE (Communist Party) in all ballots.
LOGOS: Battle for the victory.
PROTO THEMA: Samaras to Tsipras (Alexis, main opposition SYRIZA leader who said that he will tear up the memorandum): And then he woke up...
REAL NEWS: That's how Venizelos (Evangelos,
PASOK leader and government vice president) drew the carpet under (former PASOK leader and prime minister) George Papandreou's feet.
TO ARTHRO: Grexit's nightmare returns.
TO PARON: Additional measures to come.
TO VIMA: How we (Greece) avoided the exit from the eurozone.
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