Prime Minister Mitsotakis Awaits Runoff Elections to Achieve Ambitious Electoral Goals

Kostas Bakoyannis: With your vote I want to continue being mayor of all Athenians

The fate of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' ambitious "13 and 3" goal - winning all 13 regions and the three major cities (Athens, Thessaloniki, and Piraeus) - hinges on the upcoming runoff elections scheduled for next Sunday in the regional and municipal contests.

The initial round of voting revealed that the New Democracy party's conservative dominance in the political arena, as established during the national elections last May and June, remains largely unshaken. This is despite the challenges faced by the government during its second term, including criticism for its response to natural disasters such as wildfires and floods.

New Democracy-backed candidates secured victories in seven out of the 13 regions in the first round. It's worth noting that this count includes the socialist Stavros Arnaoutakis, whom New Democracy supported this time and who secured a fourth term as the governor of Crete. As of the time of this report, Dimitris Ptochos in the Peloponnese was just shy of the 43% threshold needed for a first-round victory.

Of particular significance was the victory of Nikos Hardalias, a former conservative minister, who won in the highly populated region of Attica.

In Athens, the incumbent mayor, Kostas Bakoyannis, narrowly missed an outright victory, polling nearly as strongly as he did in 2019. Prime Minister Mitsotakis expressed confidence in the voters' trust in New Democracy and its chosen candidates, citing the outright wins of Hardalias and Apostolos Tzitzikostas in central Macedonia. He also stated the party's commitment to the upcoming runoff elections.

Mitsotakis emphasized that the challenges faced by the country transcend political affiliations and pledged cooperation with all regional governors.

Fragmentation and internal competition were evident on the opposition front, particularly among left-wing SYRIZA and socialist PASOK, as they vied for second place and dominance within the left-of-centre electorate. In many contests, such as Athens and Attica, opposition candidates garnered support in the mid-teens, while New Democracy candidates exceeded 40%.

PASOK officials expressed satisfaction with their results, especially in Athens and Thessaloniki, where they outperformed their SYRIZA counterparts and secured third place. In Thessaloniki, socialist Stelios Angeloudis is set to run a highly competitive runoff race despite not receiving PASOK's endorsement due to local rivalries. Meanwhile, incumbent Yiannis Moralis secured the election with approximately 70% of the votes in Piraeus, with New Democracy gaining support, much like in Crete. However, in Attica, Yiannis Sgouros, a former governor from 2010-14, fell to fourth place.

A clear indication of the opposition's weakness and division is evident in the runoff races, where the main challengers to New Democracy-endorsed candidates are, except for Thessaly, conservative dissidents. In Thessaly, incumbent conservative governor Kostas Agorastos received just over 41%, while his challenger, Dimitris Kouretas, secured over 34%. Agorastos, who received 58% in the first round in 2019, faced consequences for handling the disastrous floods in September.


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