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Culture > Current Affairs > ELECTION CLIFF-HANGER (Oct 16 2006)

11643: Culture > Current Affairs

submitted by John Stathatos on 17.10.2006

ELECTION CLIFF-HANGER (Oct 16 2006)

The first round of the Kythera municipal elections, held on Sunday October 15th, turned into a cliff-hanger which was only resolved long past midnight amidst scenes of mounting chaos.

A total of 2,881 Kytherians voted between dawn and dusk at 23 electoral precincts. As results started coming in at around 8.30 pm, it quickly became obvious that the slate of incumbent mayor Artemios Kalligeros was heading for a very poor third place, with some precincts reporting returns in the single figures. Within another couple of hours, it also became apparent that the slate of Theodoros Koukoulis (conservative) was slowly pulling ahead of the rival centre-left slate of Panayotis Protopsaltis, gradually closing in on the target figure of 42% necessary to clinch victory in the first round.

The race became closer and closer as the evening wore on, with the last four precincts taking very much longer than the others to complete their counts. In general, it proved an evening of upsets: Kalligeros could achieve no better than 39% of the vote in his home town of Chora, while Protopsaltis carried the three Potamos precincts by just 53%, not enough to counter the stunning 54% picked up in Agia Pelagia by the better-organised Koukoulis forces.

By midnight, when results came in from Mylopotamos, Koukoulis’ percentage had crept up to 42.25% of the vote, with only the first Chora precinct still unaccounted for. Victory was not yet certain, however, as those 178 votes could still tip the balance in the opposite direction. For some reason, it took another two hours for those last few votes to be counted, stretching everybody’s nerves to breaking point. When at last the provisional results were phoned through, it looked as though Koukoulis had missed the target figure by about 12 votes.

The evening was not yet over, however. Just before 2.00 am, representatives of the two leading slates met in Chora town hall to work out the final figures with the municipal secretary. In an increasingly tense atmosphere, mayor Kalligeros prematurely conceded victory to Koukoulis. Meanwhile, official results came in one after the other, and corrections were instantly made on three separate laptops. As it happened, the adjustments tended to favour the Koukoulis slate, and the number of votes still separating them from the target of figure of 42% slowly dropped from 12, to 10, to 7, to 5, until they finally settled at 4. Koukoulis had peaked at 41.93%, only just missing his target: had two more voters swung his way, he would have been home and dry.

The final runoff between the two leading slates takes place next Sunday, October 22nd, when the target figure will of course no longer be 42%, but 50% plus one vote.

John Stathatos ELECTION CLIFF-HANGER (Oct 16 2006) - Elections 2006, 1

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