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Partial results: Greek local elections wide open

May 18, 2014

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek local elections were wide open in the first round Sunday, with the biggest seats still up for grabs, according to partial results.

The runoffs will take place next Sunday, coinciding with the Europe-wide election for the European parliament.

Early exit polls showing the candidate of the left opposition party in the Attica region leading the socialist incumbent by 7 points have proven inaccurate. Rena Dourou, the SYRIZA candidate, is leading socialist incumbent Yiannis Sgouros by about a percentage point, with no candidate polling more than 23 percent of the vote.

Attica, one of the main prizes, is the only one of Greece’s 13 regions which SYRIZA has hopes of capturing in next Sunday’s runoff.

This is a disappointment for SYRIZA, which has run on the slogan “three ballot boxes, one vote,” meaning the municipal, provincial and European elections. The opposition now hopes that the European election will provide a clearer protest vote against the government and that this will carry over to local contests.

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras expressed this hope using a soccer metaphor in a short statement as he reached his party’s headquarters.

“The best goals are those scored in the second half,” he told reporters.

In Athens, center-left incumbent mayor Giorgos Kaminis is leading 33-year-old SYRIZA-backed challenger Gavriil Sakellaridis, 21.2 to 19.9 percent, with just over 40 percent of the votes counted. Conservative candidate Aris Spiliotopoulos, hampered by a dissident conservative’s candidacy, is polling 17.1 percent and Ilias Kassidiaris, a lawmaker of the extreme right Golden Dawn is polling 16.2 percent.

Voters didn’t seem to mind that Kassidiaris, along other Golden Dawn lawmakers, have been indicted for crimes ranging from murder to extortion and that the extreme-right Golden Dawn, until recently a fringe neo-Nazi party, has been labeled a military-style criminal organization by prosecutors.

Ilias Panayiotaros, another indicted Golden Dawn lawmaker and candidate in the Attica region, where he is polling around 11 percent, declared Sunday that, in order to punish the government, he will vote for SYRIZA in the runoff.

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