The results of municipal and regional elections in Greece at midnight on Sunday showed record rates of abstention nationwide and especially in key electoral constituencies, including the Attica region, and the municipalities of Athens and Thessaloniki.
In the crucial election for Attica regional authority chief, with 26.34 percent of the vote counted and an estimated voter turnout of 54.51 percent, PASOK-backed candidate Yiannis Sgouros was in the lead with 23.99 percent of valid votes, versus 20.65 percent for main opposition New Democracy-backed candidate Vassilios Kikilias. Rebel PASOK candidate Yiannis Dimaras,widely seen as opposing the EU-IMF memorandum, was third with 15.65.
In Athens which is the largest municipality in the country, ND-supported Athens mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis appeared to be heading toward re-election with 35.00 percent of valid votes at midnight with 29.86 percent of votes counted. He was tailed by George Kaminis, the candidate backed by PASOK, with 28.63 percent of the vote. The clear winner, however, was abstention since participation by Athens voters stood at record lows of just 42 percent.
In Thessaloniki, the second-largest Greek city after the capital, participation in the election stood at 53.72 percent. With 23.64 percent of the vote counted, ND-backed candidate Costas Gioulekas was ahead with 38.36 percent of the valid votes and Yiannis Boutaris, the candidate backed by ruling PASOK, was second with 32.99 percent of the vote.
In Piraeus, Yiannis Mihas backed by PASOK was in the lead with 30.48 percent and second place went to ND-backed Vassilis Mihaloliakos with 23.03 percent.
No clear winner has emerged in any of the 13 regions of the country during the first round of the elections and a run-off election between the top two candidates in the first round will be held on November 14.