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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-10-12

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr>

NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 12/10/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Avramopoulos walk-in in Athens mayoral race
  • Run-offs for Thessaloniki, Piraeus
  • Nationwide mayoral results
  • Final results due tonight
  • Govt will look at election results
  • Poll does not presage change in gov't policy
  • Opposition ND happy with results
  • Nine cars torched in Athens suburb
  • Charred body found in disused factory
  • Greek equities come under pressure
  • Athens marks anniversary of city's liberation
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Avramopoulos walk-in in Athens mayoral race

Dimitris Avramopoulos was re-elected mayor of Athens in a landslide victory Sunday in nationwide municipal and prefectural elections, while run-offs will take place next Sunday, October 18, in the three other major cities of Piraeus, Thessaloniki and Patras. According to figures released early Monday morning by the Interior Ministry, with the results of 1,152 out of a total 1,426 polling stations counted, Avramopoulos, who was backed by the main opposition New Democracy party (ND) and Political Spring had amassed 57.68 percent of the vote, with 25 seats on the city's municipal council. Maria Damanaki, the Coalition of Left and Progress (SYN candidate backed jointly by the ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), received 16.35 percent and 7 seats, followed by the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) backed PASOK Independent Dimitris Beis with 12.68 percent and 5 seats, and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) backed Leon Avdis with 10.36 percent and 4 seats.

Run-offs for Thessaloniki, Piraeus

In Thessaloniki, with results from 458 of the 503 polling stations in, the ND-backed Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, with 44.44 percent and 9 seats, and the PASOK-backed Thrassyvoulos Lazaridis, with 31.23 percent and 7 seats, will face each other off in next Sunday's run-offs, while the SYN-backed Spyros Vouyias amassed 15.18 percent and 3 seats, followed by the KKE- backed Agapios Sachinis with 5.19 percent and one seat, and DHKKI-backed PASOK Independent with 3.36 percent.In Piraeus, with results from 330 of the 447 polling stations in, the ND-Political Spring backed Christos Agrapidis was leading with 42.82 percent and 9 seats, and would face PASOK- backed Christos Fotiou, who amassed 27.45 percent and 6 seats, in the run- offs. They were followed by KKE-backed Panayotis Salpeas with 11.94 percent and 3 seats, DHKKI-backed Antonis Dendidakis with 6.93 percent and 2 seats, ND Independent Haralambos Kefalas with 2.51 percent, and SYN-backed Constantine Panos with 2.3 percent.

Nationwide mayoral results

In the first round, 106 mayoral candidates backed solely by ND, 83 backed solely by PASOK, five backed by the KKE and three backed by DHKKI were elected, while 106 candidates backed jointly by PASOK and other parties other than ND, 68 candidates backed jointly by ND and other parties other than PASOK, and five candidates backed jointly by PASOK and ND were elected. Fifty-four candidates elected in the first round were not supported by the parties represented in Parliament.

Final results due tonight

The Interior Ministry is expected to begin relaying official final counts after 6:00 this afternoon. According to Interior Ministry figures, mayors were elected in 466 out of a total 900 municipalities in the first round, and in 15 out of a total 54 prefectures. New Democracy-backed mayors were elected in 119 municipalities and PASOK-backed mayors in 91 municipalities. Mayors elected in the remaining municipalities were backed by combinations of parties. PASOK-backed prefects were elected in 8 prefectures and ND- backed prefects in 7 prefectures.

Govt will look at election results

Prime Minister Costas Simitis said early today that the results of the first round of the municipal and prefectural elections on Sunday proved that the government's policy for self-government and decentralisation has the support of the Greek people. He also said that the government will remain unmoved on its stance for the realisation of its goals, for which it has a mandate by the people. The premier said that the election sent messages to all political sides. "We received them and we will evaluate them," he said.

Poll does not presage change in gov't policy

The outcome of Sunday's polls does not have any immediate impact on the government's work, spokesman Yannis Nicolaou said on Monday. "The government will steadily follow its fundamental choices... with the main goal of inclusion in economic and monetary union," Nicolaou said. He denied reports of an imminent government reshuffle or that the results of the poll would lead to any changes in the government's priorities and goals, saying that the message from voters was "not uniform". Nicolaou cautioned against making any sort of conclusion before the holding of next Sunday's run-off elections and also noted that any interpretation need to take into account the rate of abstention.

Opposition ND happy with results

Leading New Democracy officials however were jubilant over the results of the poll, believing that the run-off poll on Sunday would consolidate their gains. At a meeting to analyse the results on Monday, officials said they believed that the government would receive a stronger message of protest on Sunday. "The popular discontent with the government's policies is not about to go away," ND parliamentary representative Dimitris Sioufas said. New Democracy believes that it will win 17 of the 24 prefectures it contests on Sunday and that it will also pull ahead of PASOK-affiliated candidates in municipal run-offs.

Nine cars torched in Athens suburb

Unidentified arsonists set fire to nine cars on Thessalonikis street in the Athens residential district of Ano Petralona early Monday, police said. Police said the culprits placed a home-made explosive device comprising liquid gas cannisters underneath a mini-bus belonging to the Athens Public Psychiatric Hospital and poured gasoline on other cars parked nearby, which they set on fire before fleeing the area. The mini-bus and five cars were completely destroyed, while three others were damaged.

Charred body found in disused factory

A charred body burned beyond recognition was found early Monday in an old abandoned factory in the Athens western suburb of Kolonos and was believed to be an illegal immigrant, police said. They said the body, believed to be that of a man, was found in the abandoned factory after the Fire Brigade extinguished a fire that began in a pile of garbage and spread rapidly, gutting most of the building's interior. Police said the abandoned building had been used mostly by illegal immigrants and other homeless for shelter.

Greek equities come under pressure

Greek equities ended substantially lower on the Athens Stock Exchange reversing an early strong advance, as foreign institutional investors liquidated positions in the domestic banking sector, continuing Friday's pattern. The general index ended 1.83 percent lower to 1,739.61 points. The index was up 2.0 percent in the first half of the session. Trading remained subdued with turnover at 27.8 billion drachmas. Volume was 5,594,000 shares.

Athens marks anniversary of city's liberation

Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos raised the Greek flag atop the Acropolis on Monday, in a ceremony to mark the 54th anniversary of the liberation of the city from the Nazi occupiers. At a ceremony also attended by Justice Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos, a former resistance fighter, speakers paid tribute to the Greeks who fought against the German occupiers. Avramopoulos said the message of the day was both lasting and timeless. "The Greece of the resistance... a Greece with Greeks united, is as it was then and as it is now, is always prepared," Avramopoulos said.

WEATHER

Light cloud is forecast throughout the country Monday, with possibility of drizzle in western and northern areas. Winds southwesterly, light to moderate. Athens will be overcast, turning cloudy in the afternoon with drizzle, and temperatures ranging from 18-29 C. The same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures between 16-23 C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 280.220 British pound 478.045 Japanese yen (100) 237.450 French franc 51.191 German mark 172.631 Italian lira (100) 17.349 Irish Punt 428.941 Belgian franc 8.318 Finnish mark 56.405 Dutch guilder 152.208 Danish kr. 45.130 Austrian sch. 24.392 Spanish peseta 2.021 Swedish kr. 35.500 Norwegian kr. 37.597 Swiss franc 211.688 Port. Escudo 1.669 Aus. dollar 171.601 Can. dollar 182.111 Cyprus pound 584.288

(M.P.)


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