Opposition Candidates Sweep Through Local, Regional Elections in Greece

Opposition candidates have won most of the major contests in the second round of Greece’s local and regional elections which were held on Sunday.

Kostas Bakoyannis, the candidate officially supported by opposition party New Democracy, won the race to become Athens’ new mayor, netting 65.2 percent of the popular vote, brushing aside the challenge of SYRIZA-backed Nasos Iliopoulos who earned 34.8 percent support.

Giorgos Patoulis won the Attica region, netting 66.2 percent against current governor Rena Dourou of SYRIZA, who garnered 33.7 percent support.

Dourou, among other Greek officials, has been charged with breach of duty and negligence in the deaths of 102 people in the horrific July, 23, 2018 wildfires in Greece. She has denied all charges.

In Thessaloniki, Konstantinos Zervas, who came second last Sunday, wins the race against the ND-backed Nikos Tachiaos. According to the official estimation of the Ministry of the Interior and the first results, Zervas has received 66.8 percent support, compared to 33.2 per cent for his opponent.

Overall, opposition candidates won in twelve out of the thirteen regions of Greece. The only exception is Crete, where Stavros Arnaoutakis, supported by SYRIZA and the Movement for Change Party, won re-election in the first vote last Sunday.

Participation in the second round of the elections was considerably lower, compared to last Sunday’s European and local elections.

ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis declared that the election results heralded a major political change for the country.

“The map has been painted blue, but in this case, blue is not the color of our party, but of our country,” he said. He also described upcoming snap general elections as “critical,” saying that those polls would lead to “hope becoming reality in the Greece we want.”

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras also spoke to reporters Sunday night, declaring that in politics, as in life, “it is important to know how to win, but also know how to lose.” He said SYRIZA will rally its forces for “the battle of all battles, the national elections.”