By now weâ€™re sure you all know that Sunday 11th October 1998 is election day on Paros. If you have registered and are eligible to vote, remember that this is an important chance for the Parian permanent inhabitants from EU countries to have their say in local politics. It is now even possible for an EU citizen to stand as a counsellor in local government. In addition to the interviews and statements in this edition, you can re-read information about the elections and the candidates that was published already in the June and September issues. Also you can visit the information kiosks that are now being set up in Paroikia and have the chance to speak directly with the Mayoral candidates and their counsellors, as well as to ensure that you understand properly how the ballot process works so that you do not accidentally invalidate your vote.
The kiosks are located as follows: for Dimitris Kavalis - next to the Ionian Bank (see the â€śParos 2000â€ť sign); for Konstantinos Agouzis - above the fast-food shop next to Polos Tours, and for Antonis Arkas - the location has not been finalized at the time of going to press, so check at the Town Hall for up-to-date info.
This month, as promised, we have the interview with Dr Arkas - his statement was published in June - and although the fourth candidate, Georgios Triantafilos, has now withdrawn his candidacy, he has nevertheless asked us to publish his interview and statement for the record.
(A.K.E.P. - Independent)
Dr Arkas was born in Paros on 7th July 1945 and lived on the island until he was 12. He is a surgeon and gynaecologist and is the director of the Medical Center in Paroikia. He returned to the island with his wife, Emilia, 3 years ago.
The A.K.E.P. (Unified Independent Movement of Paros) has the support of the government (PASOK) party. The main points of the manifesto are: Development of the island with particular respect to environmental issues, reorganization of the Municipality, development of political and social care with special emphasis on health, education, and cultural inheritance. Dr Arkasâ€™ statement reads: We consider that European citizens have the same rights in all EU member states.
Therefore, the permanent EU inhabitants of Paros need to be involved in the local politics of the island and this philosophy has led us specifically to seek representation within our party from the foreign community in order that Paros might become the leading island with a European perspective in the Aegean.
Georgos Triantafilos was born in Paroikia on 23rd February 1939. He is married to Anna Sisimopoulou, also from Paros, and they have two daughters - one studying physics at university and the other still in high school. He lived on Paros until he entered the Military Academy of Evelpidon in 1958, graduating with the rank of Lieutenant in 1962. He retired from the general staff as a Brigadier in 1990 and served as Mayor of Paros and Vice-president of the Local Union of Municipalities and Communities of the Cyclades from 1991 to 1994.
From 1995 to 1998, he served as District Counsellor of the Prefecture of Self-administration of the Cyclades and as Counsellor of the Province of Paros. His program emphasises quality of life, protection of the environment, education and culture, as well as basic infrastructure services such as ports, marinas, airport, road construction, rubbish handling, etc. He believes that a unified Municipality needs a balanced development and should be equipped to operate at the standard that it deserves, transcending local area and party differences. He describes the politics of Topiki Avtodioikisi (Local Self-administration) as â€śliberal democraticâ€ť, currently most closely expressed by the New Democracy party whom he believes absolutely to be the best ambassadors of our island in the European community.
Following Mr Triantafilosâ€™ decision to withdraw his candidacy, the following statement was released:
â€śMy dear friends. Being aware of the situation and having feelings of responsibility and honesty towards you, I am obliged to address the people of Paros and to explain the circumstances and reasons which led me and my list of candidates not to participate in the Municipal elections.
As you know, we had announced as one of our basic principles that for local self-administration to succeed it must be free from party politics as well as from various specific interests and ulterior motives. Also we wanted competent and willing contributors with experience in public affairs to voice proposals and ideas without making empty promises or having specific interests. Our purpose was not only to collect the required number of names and to become the municipal authority, but also how we could continue to offer something to our community.
Many of our fellow Parians responded to this effort and we thank them warmly. Unfortunately, however, at the last moment, a few people spoiled the results we desired, influenced by personal reasons, ambitions and interests. These few people are not among those we added to complete the list of candidates, but are absolutely necessary members of a specific Municipal department and I am being lenient when I describe them only as irresponsible, indifferent and superficial.
However, there were also other factors acting as a catalyst to prevent the completion of our effort, such as: attempts to impose political party policy and to change the will and conscience of the counsellor candidates; all kinds of promises for jobs, reciprocal services, and even blackmail, psychological intimidation and threats; also some individuals from various lists of candidates created family and social problems in trying to secure counsellor positions for members of their family.
At the same time, we realized that these people were not only insulting our intelligence, but were demonstrating hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and, most of all, dishonesty. These attitudes and actions, seen for the first time on our island, remind us of other times and other societies. The Parian people simply express their disgust and bitterness, but remain dispassionate.
In closing, my dear compatriots, I wish to thank you once again for the love, respect and confidence you have shown towards me and want to assure you that I will always be close to you.
I also want to publicly thank the former mayor Stelios Frangoulis for his exceptional support, and his magnanimity in transcending his own personal ambitions, something that, sadly, a handful of others did not do. I denounce them as the moral perpetrators of the above actions.
Finally, please remember that the forthcoming elections will not be the last ones and that the help and support that each one of us can offer does not depend on the seat of office that he holds.
With friendly greetings, your compatriot, Georgios Triantafilos, Former Mayor of Paros.â€ť