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Surgeon, oncologist, sprinter, heavy athlete, wine producer and human rights activist took the key regions and municipalities

16 November 2010 / 16:11:12  GRReporter
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New representatives of local authorities in Greece were defined after a fierce struggle. Literally, tens of ballots determined the winners in many places. Most of the new faces looked like complete outsiders in the beginning of the campaign. But who are they?
George Kaminis:
The new mayor of Athens was born in 1954 in New York. He graduated law from the Athens University, graduated MA from the University of Paris II, and was a lecturer at Paris I in 1989. He was appointed lecturer in constitutional law at the Law Faculty of Athens University in 1990 and assistant in 1998. The council of parliamentary chairmen elected him ombudsman in 2003, he was re-elected in 2008 and occupied this position until a few months ago, when he resigned to participate in local elections. His candidacy for mayor was announced by PASOK after the proposal of the newly founded Democratic Left Party just two months before the election. He was supported by the party Drasi (Action) of former MP and New Democracy Minister Stephanos Manos and the Green ecologists.
Few people knew George Kaminis before running for mayor of Athens. Most of the people had seen his name in the small notifications articles published in central newspapers related to the Ombudsman’s activity. The new mayor of Athens was not favourite and nobody expected him to be elected. The difference which separated him from his opponent Nikitas Kaklamanis was almost 7% after the first election round. However, he won voters with composure, restraint and intelligence. Supporters of other left parties’ candidates which did not participate in the second round united for his candidacy and ensured his success.

Yannis Sgouros:
The name of the new governor of Attica was at the center of political parties’ election rhetoric. Opposition politicians and the media often rephrased the Prime Minister's dilemma "if I do not win, Greeks will vote again" in "or Sgouros, or extraordinary elections". Yannis Sgouros is not new to local authorities. He was Prefect of the Attica District from 2003 until shortly before the local elections, when the Kalikratis law changed the administrative map of Greece. Former athlete and coach in weightlifting, he was a member of the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004. Sgouros emphasized on his experience and knowledge during his campaign and they really made an impression when compared with his main rivals’ qualities.

Yannis Boutaris:
Boutaris family is known throughout Greece. The family of the new Mayor of Thessaloniki has been producing wine for decades. Yiannis Boutaris is a certified chemist and continues this tradition. His political involvement began in 2002 when he was a candidate for councilor in the list of the Communist Party. He founded the Union of Citizens of Thessaloniki in parallel. He ran for mayor of the city as an independent candidate four years later and managed to win 16 percents of the vote. He was among the founding members of the party Drasi in 2009 involving individuals from different political movements. Then his election candidacy was supported by PASOK, Draci and smaller leftist parties.
Thessaloniki Metropolitan Antim declared against it and told him "you will not see the mayoralty." According to commentators, the dispute between the Metropolitan and Buotaris, who characterized Antim as mujahedeen because of his extreme nationalist position, has helped his election, because other opponents of the retrograde bishop joined his candidacy. With an earring on the ear and a cigarette in hand Yannis Boutaris succeeded to attract the votes of many young people in Thessaloniki.

Panagiotis Psomiadis:
Panagiotis Psomiadis –  the former Prefect of Thessaloniki and the current governor of central Macedonia – is one of the most colourful figures in the political life of Greece. He trained track-and-field athletics ever since he was a child and was a member of the national team. Professionally he dealt with imports of electrical materials and anatomic shoes, opened a coffee bar and in 1990 became the owner of a restaurant with live music, where he was singing and entertaining the customers.  
He entered politics in 1982 when he was elected municipal councilor in Thessaloniki. The next step was the parliament where he was elected as New Democracy candidate for the first time in 1990 and another 4 consecutive terms. He was elected Prefect of Thessaloniki in 2002 and his mandate was renewed in the local elections four years later.
Panagiotis Psomiadis is representative of the so-called ‘people's right and his views on national interests often tend more to the right. His statement in the air that characterized the military junta as a ‘revolution’ caused a furor in New Democracy. He is enjoying great popularity, keeping it by appearing dressed in Zorro’s costume or participating in national festivities, and he often comes home wet or dirty with yoghourt. When New Democracy had to elect its leader the last year, Psomiadis ran to be the ‘unifying candidate’ between the camps of the two opponents Antonis Samaras and Dora Bakoyannis and won 10 percent of the votes of his party members. He responds to opponents’ accusations of populism with election results that often exceed 50 percent of the vote.

Tags: Local electionsMayorsPrefectsNew facesKaminisBoutarisSgourosTatoulis
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