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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)

Eminent Greek Authors Digitised

Tributes in the form of cultural events and publications prepared over the last few years by the National Book Centre to commemorate birth or death anniversaries of eminent Greek writers now take a permanent place in the Centre’s digital archive.
Authors such as Stratis Tsirkas and M. Karagatsis, as well as poets like Nikos Kavvadias have their own website in the progressively increasing Book Centre’s electronic archive of Modern Greek literature. The latest addition bears the name of poet Yiannis Ritsos, whose 100-year birth anniversary was observed in 2009.
National Book Center: Modern Authors Archives in Greek

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)

Greece at Frankfurt Book Fair

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) At the Frankfurt International Book Fair 2009, which took place from October 15 to 19, author Ioanna Karistiani greeted her loyal fans and Soti Triandafyllou presented her “Chinese boxes” from Suhrkamp Verlag.  The same company recently published Yiannis Ritsos’ book “Monemvassia” translated by Klaus Peter Wedekind, on the occasion of the centenary of the poet’s birth.  A noteworthy initiative of the German branch of Hellenic Foundation for Culture in Berlin is the publication of a booklet presenting Greek writers who attract the interest of German readers and publishers.

Underground Art in Athens

» Next Stop: Larissis

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) “Stathmos Larissis” on line 2 of the Athens metro, which is connected to the capital’s central railway station features on its platforms works of art by Greek artist Yiannis Gaitis.

Gaitis (Athens 1923-1984) is known for his small figures of men –”little men”- a trademark of his personal style that marked his work throughout his career. Having appeared for the first time in 1967, they gradually grew bigger and converged on a central theme. Since the 70s, their form has become fixed and they have been reproduced constantly and in an impersonal manner, denouncing thus the mechanisms of society.   After 1974, they come in three sizes, in groups and in various manifestations: children’s toys, everyday objects, furniture, fabrics, and were even used in fashion shows and film productions.  Gaitis studied at the School of Fine Arts in Athens (1942-1944) and at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris. By the 80s, at the peak of his career, he had displayed his works at several exhibitions around the world. Major retrospective exhibitions of his work were held at the National Gallery of Athens in 1984, the Benaki Museum in 2006 and the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki in 2008.

Greek Government to Deregulate “Closed Professions”

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  The government is to bring national legislation in line with European Union directives in what concerns the deregulation of the service industry and the opening up of the so-called closed professions to competitive conditions, Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou announced yesterday after a meeting of the inter-ministerial committee for the economy chaired by Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis. Papathanassiou stressed that this is a very important reform, which when fully implemented could lead to lower consumer prices and improve the competitiveness of the Greek economy, contributing to economic growth and higher employment. He also said that more changes to closed professions, which are not included in this draft bill will follow after further studies and dialogue.”

Greek Economy to begin Recovering by end 2009

papaecon(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The Greek economy will begin recovering by the end of 2009 and will return timely to positive growth rates in 2010, Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou estimated on Thursday. Addressing a Hellenic Federation of Enterprises Euro-Mediterranean Business Forum in Athens, Papathanasiou said Greece along with Cyprus were the only Eurozone member-states to maintain a slight positive growth rate in the first quarter of 2009. However, he added that following a general phenomenon in the EU, the Greek economy’s slowdown was greater compared with initial forecasts and noted that this trend would continue for the rest of the year with growth rates around zero. This performance, he stressed, although better compared with the EU’s average rate, would be markedly lower from an 1.1 pct growth envisaged in the country’s updated stability and growth program. He expressed optimism that the Greek economy would begin recovering by the end of 2009.  Greece actively participates in all stages of creating a Union for the Mediterranean, focusing on the East Mediterranean region, Papathanasiou stressed. Greece has gained representation in the Union’s secretariat and has submitted specific proposals regarding cooperation in solar energy, water management and creating sea routes with the interconnection of ports in South-eastern Mediterranean, he added. Hellenic Federation of Enterprises: “Bridging the Mediterranean – Athens Business Forum”  Ministry of Economy and Finance: www.mnec.gr; www.investingreece.gov.gr