The conservatives retained control of Greece's second-largest city in weekend mayoral elections, but a socialist-communist coalition captured major provincial centers.
In the northern city of Salonica, Mayor Constantine Cosmopoulos of the conservative New Democracy party edged out Dimitris Fatouros, candidate of the socialists and communist-dominated Coalition of the Left and Progress.Final results released Monday by the Interior Ministry showed that Cosmopoulos received 50.91 percent of the vote to 49.09 percent for Fatouros.
The hard-fought race in the key industrial city was considered a gauge of political sentiment for the national New Democracy-led administration, which was buffeted by five nationwide walkouts in September.
The strikes were in protest of tough austerity measures implemented by the 6-month-old government to slash state spending and offset $10 billion in debts.
The first round of mayoral elections was held on Oct. 14, with 215 towns and cities involved. On Sunday, runoffs were held in 143 municipalities.
Final results indicated that many leftist voters failed to toe the party line.