Hazel McCallion, Mayor of Mississauga and runner-up in World Mayor 2005

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Dora Bakoyannis, Mayor of Athens
wins the 2005 World Mayor Award

By Tann vom Hove, Editor

Dora Bakoyannis, Mayor of Athens, has been elected World Mayor 2005. Runner up in the 2005 World Mayor contest is Hazel McCallion, Mayor of Mississauga (Ontario/Canada). In third place is Álvaro Arzú, Mayor of Guatemala City, with Oscar Samson Rodriguez, Mayor of San Fernando (Pampanga/Philippines) ranked fourth. World Mayor, an annual project, organised by City Mayors, aims to raise the profile of mayors worldwide as well as to honour those who have served their communities well and who have made contributions to the well-being of cities nationally and internationally. Each year the most outstanding mayor is presented with the World Mayor Award. In 2004, Edi Rama, Mayor of Tirana, won the Award.

Methodology | The 2005 top four mayors | The 2005 top ten mayors | Women mayors | Mayors from smaller cities | Mayors from Africa | Non-eligible mayors

Between June and the end of October 2005, more than 87,000 people from across the world voted for and commented on their favourite mayors in the internet-based contest. With a share of 31 per cent of the total, North America contributed the largest number of votes, followed by Europe with 29 per cent of votes. The share of votes from Asian countries increased from 14 per cent in 2004 to 22 per cent in 2005. The World Mayor contest also became considerably more popular in Central and South America, where the share of votes rose from four per cent to 11 per cent. Voters from Africa contributed four per cent of the total, with the remainder coming from other parts of the world including Australia and New Zealand. List of all finalists

In addition to click voting, participants in World Mayor 2005 were encouraged to comment on why they felt a particular mayor deserved to win the 2005 title. When setting up the rules for the competition, City Mayors, the organisers, emphasised that the strength of argument was as important as the number of votes. Tann vom Hove, Editor and Publisher of City Mayors, said that by stressing the importance of well-expressed comments, it was ensured that the competition participants thought about the merits of their chosen mayors.

Tann vom Hove said that he and his editorial colleagues were looking for mayors who had the passionate support of their communities and won respect on the national and international stage. “When making the final decision on which mayor should be presented with the 2005 World Mayor Award, my colleagues and I evaluated all statements received in support of the finalists,” Mr vom Hove explained. He also emphasised that from very early on in World Mayor 2005, a representative cross-section of supporting comments was published on the World Mayor website to make the contest as transparent and open as possible. “The merits of all the finalists were open to inspection,” he added.

The World Mayor project has no connection with any city or organisation and is run on strictly non-commercial lines. Sponsorships, advertising, subscriptions, donations or any other kind of revenue are not sought and are rejected, if offered. More information on methodology.

The 2005 top four mayors
The four top-placed mayors in World Mayor 2005 – Dora Bakoyannis/Athens, Hazel McCallion/Mississauga, Álvaro Arzú/Guatemala City and Oscar Samson Rodriguez/San Fernando - are all politicians who are greatly admired by their own communities as well as nationally and internationally. All four mayors understand that local politics must have national and international dimensions. They have shown that in order to promote successfully the interests of their own communities they must also address issues faced by other cities in their respective countries and indeed across the world.

In World Mayor 2005, the four top-placed mayors all received more than 6,000 votes, with Dora Bakoyannis winning the support of more than 7,500 voters.

Dora Bakoyannis, Mayor of Athens, was not only strongly and passionately supported by her own community but also by thousands of voters in other European countries, North America and Australia. Her achievements as Mayor of Athens, including the successful staging of the 2004 Olympics and her fight against terrorism, have made her a heroine of modern Greek politics. She has also gone beyond the Olympic legacy and used her vision to transform the city and make tangible changes for the benefit of its residents, with plaudits from supporters and opponents alike. Profile | Comments | Manifesto | Interview

Hazel McCallion, Mayor of Mississauga since 1978 and now aged 84, is Canada’s best known and arguably most successful mayor. Her administration has become a by-word for businesslike and prudent city management. Mississauga, with its population of some 700,000, is the safest of the country’s big cities and has been kept debt-free throughout Mayor McCallion’s tenure. She was supported by voters from across Canada and also enjoyed considerable popularity in the US. However, she is less known in Europe and other parts of the world. Profile | Comments | Manifesto | Interview

Álvaro Arzú, Mayor of Guatemala City and former President of Guatemala, has played a major role in the Central American country’s transition from war-torn state to modern nation during his two decades in politics as Mayor, Foreign Minister and President. Mr Arzú’s main achievement as President was to end the 36-year long civil war in this fragile Central American state. As Mayor he enjoys high popularity due to his programme of investments to turn Guatemala City into a modern community comparable to cities in North America and Europe. In World Mayor 2005, Mayor Arzú was strongly supported by people from his own country but also by voters from other Central and South American countries, as well as from North America. Profile | Comments | Manifesto | Interview

Oscar Samson Rodriguez, Mayor of San Fernando (Pampanga / Philippines), can rightly point to a successful career in politics before assuming mayoral office and then playing a key role in transforming San Fernando from a town to a recognised city. In World Mayor 2005 Mayor Rodriguez won wide support from across the Philippines in addition to votes from Filipinos in North America and Europe. His supporters describe him as one of the most honest politicians in his country. Profile | Comments | Interview

The 2005 top 10 mayors
All mayors included in the 2005 World Mayor top ten are city leaders who, through their political work, have gained national and international recognition.

Gavin Newsom, San Francisco’s young Mayor, immediately after assuming office in 2004 challenged traditional society by allowing same-sex marriages in San Francisco’s City Hall. He also introduced the ‘Care not Cash’ programme to tackle homelessness and has taken an innovative approach to public management. Profile | Comments

Vienna’s Mayor, Dr Michael Häupl, who was overwhelmingly re-elected in October 2005, has been a promoter and defender of social, cultural and religious harmony in his city. He is also President of Europe’s Council of Municipalities and Regions. Profile | Comments | Manifesto | Interview

Christian Ude, Mayor of Munich and President of Germany’s Association of Cities, is a keen advocate of close cooperation between cities across the world. In 2002, he was re-elected mayor with almost two thirds of votes cast. He has also written a number of books on urban issues. Profile | Comments | Manifesto

Since assuming office in 2001, Professor Fernando Damata Pimentel, Mayor of Belo Horizonte (Brazil), has paid particular attention to the needs of the less privileged in his city. The city’s programmes to ‘close the gap between those who waste food and those who are starving’ have been showcased at a number of international conferences. In 2004, he won re-election with 70 per cent of the vote. Profile | Comments | Manifesto

In November 2005, Shirley Franklin, Atlanta’s first female mayor, was re-elected to a second term by more than 90 per cent of voters. In the United States, she has won praise from her peers for her ability to carry through tough decisions without losing the support of the people of her city. Mayor Franklin has become a role model for young African-American women. Comments

Melbourne Mayor John So has proved that immigrants can succeed in Australian politics. Born in Hong Kong, he came to the country as a 17-year-old. It was during his time as a university student that John So first became involved in politics, forming the Overseas and Chinese Students Association and campaigning for the removal of the White Australia Policy. It was an early interest in social equity that would continue to see him represent the community on a broad range of business and social issues. He is Melbourne’s first directly elected mayor. Profile | Comments | Manifesto

The top 10 mayors of World Mayor 2005

Rank Mayor City Country
1 Dora Bakoyannis Athens Greece
2 Hazel McCallion Mississauga Canada
3 Alvaro Arzú Guatemala City Guatemala
4 Oscar Samson Rodriguez San Fernando Philippines
5 Gavin Newsom San Francisco USA
6 Michael Häupl Vienna Austria
7 Christian Ude Munich Germany
8 Fernando Damata Pimentel Belo Horizonte Brazil
9 Shirley Franklin Atlanta USA
10 John So Melbourne Australia

Women mayors
Women mayors performed strongly in World Mayor 2005. In addition to the mayors of Athens, Mississauga and Atlanta, Bärbel Dieckmann, Mayor of Bonn (Germany) and Hilde Zach, Mayor of Innsbruck (Austria) enjoyed considerable support.

Mayor Dieckmann has been credited with successfully transforming Bonn from its former role as West German capital to an international centre of communication and science. During her term in office, Bonn has become one of the principal locations for UN institutions. In November 2005, Bärbel Dieckmann was elected national deputy leader of Germany’s Social Democratic Party. Profile | Comments | Manifesto

Commenting on Mayor Zach, one of her supporters wrote: “Innsbruck's Mayor, Hilde Zach, has led this city since 2002 with a great mixture of intellect and enthusiasm, charm and common sense, skill and conviction. As a woman, I am particularly proud of her achievements in the areas of family and women. She cares about the safety and well-being of women, children and families.” Innsbruck promotes itself as the ‘City in the Mountains’ and stresses the beauty of its Alpine environment as well as the city’s European outlook. Hilde Zach is the first woman mayor of an Austrian state capital and also a board member of the Austrian Association of Cities. Profile | Comments | Manifesto

Mayors from smaller cities
By stressing that the choice of World Mayor depended as much on the strength of supporting statements as on the actual number of votes cast for individual mayors, City Mayors, the organisers, aimed to allow mayors of smaller cities to compete alongside mayors from cities such as New York, London, Paris and Berlin.

Mayors from smaller cities who made an impact in World Mayor 2005 include Ruud Vreeman, Mayor of Tilburg (Netherlands), Edward Zabrocki, Mayor of Tinley Park (USA), Stuart Drummond, Mayor of Hartlepool (UK) and Georgios Giannopoulos, Mayor of Rhodes (Greece).

One supporter says of Mayor Vreeman that he was really acting as a ‘primus inter pares’. “He is showing leadership, listening to citizens and sharing his values with them by explaining his decisions sincerely and honestly.” Comments

Mayor Zabrocki is described as the epitome of what an elected official should be. “He has been Mayor of fast-growing Tinley Park, Illinois, for almost 25 years and helped ensure that the community has developed with diversity, strength, sustainability, business support, and a high quality of life.” Comments

Mayor Drummond has performed excellently over the past few years, writes one of his supporters. “He has managed to put a small town on the world map and as a result has increased the town's economy no end. He really listens to what the people of his town want and he is exceptionally well respected for this achievement. Due to his hard work and effort, Hartlepool is becoming a big town again. He has given the townsfolk their pride back.” Comments

According to his supporters, Mayor Giannopoulos is a big man for a small city. “A mayor with vision, with a dream for the City of Rhodes, for Greece, for European Union. He is a man who puts human beings at the centre of his heart and his policies. He is happy when the people of Rhodes are happy, and he suffers when they suffer.” Profile | Comments | Manifesto

Mayors from Africa
While Africa is the only world region, which does not have a mayor in the 2005 World Mayor top ten, all three African finalists were strong candidates. Insufficient access to computers and the internet in many parts of Africa is the main reason why it was difficult for the three African finalists to compete on numbers of votes with mayors from Europe, North America and Asia. However, comments received from their supporters illustrate their achievements in often difficult circumstances.

According to one commentator, Patrick Ramiaramanana, Mayor of Antananarivo (Madagascar) has brought changes and enthusiasm to the city and its population. “Antananarivo has become a reference point in Madagascar and elsewhere, and the Mayor has largely contributed to that. He also initiated a partnership-based programme involving the population, the private sector and the administration in bringing improvements to educational and health services.” Another supporter writes: “I travel four months a year all over Africa and I can testify that Antananarivo has become one of the best places in Africa since Mr Ramiaramanana became mayor. The city is now clean, orderly and safe.” Profile | Comments | Manifesto

Arkebe Oqubay, Mayor of Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), though appointed rather than elected, has nevertheless made an impact on the Ethiopian capital. One African participant in World Mayor writes: “I suggest Arkebe Oqubay for World Mayor because he is one of the best visionaries Ethiopia has ever had. He completely changed not only the city of Addis Ababa but also sends an exemplary message to corrupt African leaders that if they can honestly bring about positive changes to the life of the people, they will be loved and respected. Mayor Arkebe is the only person, who has come up with new ideas that have changed the attitudes of people.” Comments | Manifesto

The third finalist in World Mayor 2005 was Smangaliso Mkhatshwa, of Tshwane, formerly Pretoria, (South Africa). He is described as a pioneer of African unity in local governments. “He has spearheaded the formation and advancement of local government democratic structures in South Africa and indeed in the rest of the African continent and beyond. He remains a beacon of hope for many.” Profile | Comments | Manifesto

Non-eligible mayors
During World Mayor 2005 a small number of short-listed mayors resigned from office and were thus no longer eligible for the Award. The World Mayor rules state that finalists must be in office at the close of voting (26 October 2005) to remain in the contest. Mayors who left office and were strong candidates for a number ten position include Andrés Manuel López Obrador (Mexico City), Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Tehran) and Naimatullah Khan (Karachi).

Mr López Obrador stepped down from office in July 2005 to start his campaign for President of Mexico. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected President of Iran on 24 June 2005. Local election rules in Pakistan obliged Naimatullah Khan to resign as Mayor (Nazim) of Karachi in June 2005. In the subsequent local elections, held over three rounds in August, September and October, his supporters failed to gain a majority of councillors in the city.
Full coverage on www.worldmayor.com

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