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Culture > Current Affairs > ELECTIONS: LAST CALM BEFORE STORM (14 Oct 2006)

11626: Culture > Current Affairs

submitted by John Stathatos on 14.10.2006

ELECTIONS: LAST CALM BEFORE STORM (14 Oct 2006)

As required by law, overt electoral activity throughout Greece came to a halt at midnight on Friday, 13 October. The past week on Kythera was unusually frantic, with all three slates rushing around the island in an attempt to contact every last voter. In some of the smaller villages, the candidates gathered in the local café sometimes outnumbered the locals; in the larger ones, candidates would present their platform and field questions from the audience. The questions were usually the same everywhere, concentrating on transport and communications problems, rubbish and effluent disposal, the poor state of the roads and the horrors of Greek bureaucracy. Despite a few close shaves, careful planning and a measure of good luck ensured that the rival caravans did not all reach the same village square at the same time. Further excitement was generated by the two local radio stations as well as Kythera TV, which between them provided a constant diet of interviews, debates and coverage of local meetings. All three slates finished the week with large rallies in the towns of Chora and Potamos.

Voters go the polls on Sunday morning. In the absence of voter surveys, electoral predictions are a risky business, but local pundits seem to be in general agreement that the slate of incumbent mayor Artemios Kalligeros is in trouble and will likely emerge in last place, with Panayotis Protopsaltis (centre-left) and Theodoros Koukoulis (conservative) virtually neck-and-neck. If, as seems likely, a second round proves necessary in a week’s time, the betting is that the majority of Kalligeros’ voters will swing to Protopsaltis – either because the rift in the conservative ranks will prove too deep to bridge, or as a protest against the imposition of an outside mayoral candidate by the Piraeus political machine. Stay tuned.

John Stathatos

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