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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-10-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Results from Sunday's first round local gov't elections
  • [02] Onassis Foundation awards announced for '06
  • [03] Ecumenical Patriarch visits Bank of Greece

  • [01] Results from Sunday's first round local gov't elections

    Ruling New Democracy picked up an outright 26 out of the 52 prefectures in the country during the first round of local government elections on Sunday, as main opposition PASOK secured 15 prefectures, whereas two prefectures went to a candidate jointly supported by PASOK and the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos).

    The first round's tally leaves ND two prefectures short of its 2002 showing, 28 prefectures, although seven prefectural seats will go to a second round on Sunday, Oct. 22, namely: Arcadia, Karditsa, Cephallonia, Lefkada, Magnesia, Serres and Hania. Conversely, PASOK picked up 21 prefectures during the 2002 elections.

    PASOK-backed Fofi Yennimata easily won the Athens-Piraeus supra-prefecture, while ND-backed Panayiotis Psomiadis fended off last week's negative media barrage to take Thessaloniki prefecture in the first round.

    Eight prefectures changed political "camps": Aetoloakarnania and Pella passed from ND to PASOK, whereas Thesprotia, Corfu, Kozani, Florina, Halkidiki and Grevena passed from PASOK to ND.

    In 52 prefecture capitals, 31 mayoral candidates were elected in the first round, meaning that the top candidate garnered more than 42 percent of the vote. The second round will be necessary for the remaining 21 prefectural capitals.

    Out of the 31 former cities, ruling New Democracy-backed candidates won in 13 out of the 31 races; main opposition PASOK-backed candidates in nine races; four independent candidates hailing from ND won their races, while four independent candidates supported by PASOK and the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) won their races. Exactly one candidate, the winner in the Samos mayoral race, lacked a strict party affiliation.

    Meanwhile, after first-round election victories posted in both Athens (Nikitas Kaklamanis) and Piraeus (Panayiotis Fassoulas), Thessaloniki ranks as the biggest municipality where the mayoral race will go to a second round, with incumbent Vassilis Papageorgopoulos just missing the cut with 41.43 percent of the vote to PASOK deputy Chryssa Arapoglou's 21.59 percent.

    On his part, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Monday said the level of voter turnout on Sunday reached 72.43 percent, marginally down from 72.62 percent in the last local government poll of 2002. The figures more-or-less dispute certain press reports citing voter apathy near the 40-percent mark.

    As of Monday, he said the number of votes counted in the prefectural elections was 98.6 percent of the total; 98 percent for mayoral races, with 247 municipalities and communities up for grabs on Sunday.

    Finally, two new Parliament deputies will be sworn in to replace ND's Kaklamanis and newly elected Irakleio (Crete) prefect Evangelia Schinaraki-Iliaki, with Greek silver screen veteran Maro Kontou set to replace the former and Ioannis Skoulas replacing the latter for PASOK.

    Gov't spokesman

    In comments during his regular press briefing, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos echoed Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' televised statements from the previous evening, noting that "these elections shouldn't be politicised, but if someone, however, wanted to politicise them, then you'd have to refer to a large number of prefectures that chose candidates backed by the ruling party..."

    Asked about the premier's reference to "mistakes" during his address less than 24 hours, Roussopoulos stressed:

    "We're not inerrable; we're aiming at the best. We're constantly assessing ourselves, we're receiving criticism by all sides and we're constantly struggling for something better. The sum of our policy is correct, generating tangible results. The primary axis of our direction, one chosen by the citizens in national elections, is reform, and this is continuing," he added.

    Caption: President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias votes in the northwestern lake-side city of Ioannina on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2006. ANA-MPA photo.

    [02] Onassis Foundation awards announced for '06

    The Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation on Monday announced four awards for 2006, with the honourees being: the Hellenic Institute of Byzantine & Post-Byzantine Studies in Venice; the Center for Hellenic Studies at Harvard; the National Centre for Hellenic Studies & Research at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, as well as noted Texas A&M professor of physics Dimitris Nanopoulos, the head of the Astroparticle Physics Group at the Houston Advanced Research Center in Texas.

    The prizes will be presented by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Wednesday at a ceremony at the Athens Megaron (concert hall). Each award is accompanied by a monetary sum of US$ 200,000.

    Caption: Prof. Nanopoulos appears in front of a portrait of Aristotle Onassis on Monday, Oct. 16, 2006, at the Alexander S. Onassis Foundation's headquarters in Athens. Onassis created the foundation in honor of his son, Alexander. ANA-MPA photo / P. Saitas.

    [03] Ecumenical Patriarch visits Bank of Greece

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I on Monday paid a visit to the Bank of Greece, where he officially opened a two-day seminar on "The Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Economy of the Nation".

    This was the first-ever visit by an ecumenical Patriarch to the country's central bank.

    During the opening address, Bartholomew referred to relations between society and the economy, he said that the economy should serve society and the "economy of relationships that generate culture". Pointing to the major monuments bequeathed to the nation by benefactors in years gone by, he said they confirmed the view that the economy in the past did not operate autonomously with the sole aim of accumulating wealth.

    This was not the case at present, he added, when the economy acted independently of social benefit, leading to the "inhumanity of the global economy".

    The seminar was subsequently addressed by Bank of Greece Governor Nikos Garganas, who noted the Patriarchate's role as a "protective shell" for the productive and creative activities of Greeks during the years of Ottoman occupation and rule, fostering the development of the major Greek trade and financial houses of the East, the establishment of the first banks and in bringing businesses and human resources to the newly founded Greek state, thus forming the basis for its economic growth.

    The seminar was attended by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece, European Central Bank vice-president Loukas Papademos, Patriarchate benefactor Theodoros Angelopoulos, members of the Athens Academy and representatives of other religions and denominations.

    Earlier, the Patriarch had paid a visit to Archbishop Christodoulos, the head of the autocephalous Church of Greece.

    During their meeting, Christodoulos underlined the unwavering support of the Greek Church and the Greek people for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, saying that it considered any attempt to undermine the Patriarchate's ecumenical status a "personal issue".

    "Constantinople (Greek name for Istanbul) is the mother of the Churches and the first in the order of Holy Orthodox Churches," Christodoulos stressed.

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