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Local Elections Run-off

Following the second round of local elections yesterday, the ruling PASOK party won the majority of regional governorships (8 to 5).
In municipal elections and -despite a high abstention rate- there was a change of leadership in the three major cities.
In Athens, Giorgos Kaminis, the former Ombudsman, won the mayorship, with the support of Pasok, after defeating the incumbent New Democracy (ND) mayor, Nikitas Kaklamanis.
In Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, the independent Yiannis Boutaris, supported by Pasok, defeated ND-backed candidate Costas Gioulekas, while in Pireus, Vassilis Michaloliakos, supported by ND defeated Pasok candidate Yiannis Michas.
Commenting on the results, Prime Minister George Papandreou said that the citizens “rejected the sirens of destabilisation and gave the government a clear three years of work to enable it to continue the effort for the country’s salvation and recovery.”
The premier also called on all political parties to “assume responsibility” and work together with the aim of saving the country. Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras said that “the second round confirmed the political conclusions of the first Sunday” and gave the opportunity to his party to emerge “renewed, strong and responsible.”
For more information: Ministry of Interior, Decentralization and E-Government: Regional & Municipal Elections 2010 Results (in Greek); Kathimerini Daily: Pasok gets regional upper hand; YouTube: PM’s nationwide televised press statement (in Greek)
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

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Immigrants vote in 2010 Municipal Elections

The much awaited immigrants’ participation in municipal elections is a fact, following a new legislative amendment passed by the government.
According to an interior ministry circular, all eligible immigrants can register untilAugust 31 2010– the previous deadline was June 30 – at their local municipality’s election office should they want to vote in the upcoming ballot on November 14. Interior Minister Yiannis Ragousis stressed that “the participation of legally residing, long-term residents is a historic event.” 
About the procedure and the eligibility criteria: Ministry of the Interior (in Greek)
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

New Greek Government: A Wind of Change

newcabinet2(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Shortly after being  sworn in as Prime Minister, George Papandreou unveiled his first Cabinet yesterday, presenting a relatively new team with a few party heavyweights.  The premier has downsized the number of ministries from 16 to 14 and deputy ministers from 26 to 21, plus two alternate ministers. Of the 37 individuals making up the government, 24 will be living the ministerial experience for the first time.  Additionally, nine members of the cabinet are women, a proportion which is a novelty in Greece. One of the surprises is the reinstatement of the post of deputy prime minister, which hasn’t been seen since the 1980s.  There is one new ministry, that of Environment, Energy and Climate Change. Many other ministries have been altered in some way: Citizen’s Protection; Infrastructure, Transport and Networks; Interior, Decentralization and e-Governance; Economy, Competitiveness and Merchant Marine; Education, Lifelong Learning and Religion; Justice, Transparency and Human Rights; and the former ministries of Culture and Tourism have merged into one. Kathimerini daily: Some surprises in Papandrou’s new team

Migration Front Line

GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos has penned an article titled: “The migration front line,” in the daily “Guardian” (21.1.2009) on the issue of migration. Pavlopoulos acknowledges the problem of illegal immigration for both Greece and Europe, especially in these times of economic stress, as well as the necessity for co-ordinated action. Pavlopoulos mentions the specific measures the state has taken in order to cope with the increasing number of illegal immigrants entering Greece, i.e. the establishment of reception centres complying with UN specifications, the adherence of Greek legislation with the Geneva convention and other international treaties regarding asylum seekers and the “rational planning” of immigration policy. Furthermore, the minister stresses the need for closer collaboration with the European Union, focusing on the implementation of the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum. This entails the operation of Frontex, the right of immigrants to be treated on a case-by-case basis under international law, upgrading of living standards, and other requirements. Finally, Pavlopoulos refers to the selection of Athens as the venue for the Global Forum on Migration and Development, in November 2009.