With its old men leaning on canes, black-clad women and whitewashed tree trunks, the seemingly unchanging village resembles hundreds of others across Greece where the outcome of Sunday's national election is likely to be decided.

Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou's Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok) is counting on the rural vote, representing two-thirds of the population, to win him a second four-year term now that urban Greeks appear to be turning toward his conservative rivals of the New Democracy party.

How Villia will vote remains a mystery as well maintained as any village secret anywhere, but the town's voting record does provide a rough road map of postwar Greek history.

Moderate or conservative in the 1950s and '60s, Villia was solidly New Democracy from the end of the military dictatorship in 1974 until 1981. Then the pro-Moscow Communist Party suddenly quintupled its share of the vote, coming in ahead of Pasok, which ran a close second, and the conservatives, who trailed badly.

Yet, in last year's election for the European Parliament, Pasok was in the lead, with New Democracy a close second and the Communists a distant third.

In the half-dozen village coffeeshops, that national institution where Greek men have discussed politics, sex and sports since time immemorial, conversations shed light on the complexities of a land still marked by the German-Italian occupation in World War II and the bloody civil war from 1946 to 1949.

"Why was there such a big swing to the Communists, you ask?" Pasok supporter Dimitris Roussis asked. "Because the police put you in jail if you didn't vote New Democracy before 1981."

Panayotis Karaiskakis, 60, who spent five years in jail under the military dictatorship for his communist beliefs, nodded in agreement. While this was a palpable exaggeration, according to other villagers, Dimitris' explanation did reflect a deeply felt conviction that until Pasok emerged as a major force in politics, the little man in Greece was taken for granted and largely neglected outside the Communist Party.

Or as Dimitris put it, "People woke up in 1981 and started thinking seriously about politics."

Villagers also attributed the strong Communist showing locally to the personal popularity of Thanissis Levendis, a politically active village doctor.

If, as a butcher who supports New Democracy and a Communist pharmacist volunteered, Pasok is expected to maintain its lead in Villia, the main reasons all concern the pocketbook, unlike in 1981.

Then, Papandreou swept to an absolute parliamentary majority with strident anti-American and anti-European Community rhetoric.

Inflation may be three times the average in Western Europe, but even in this relatively poor olive- and wine-growing part of Attica, the special farm subsidies in the European Community have vastly improved the farmers' lot.

The villagers know full well that Papandreou campaigned in 1981 against Greek membership in the community, which the previous New Democracy government had negotiated.

But they saw nothing amiss with his about-face and praised his guile in recently extracting a supplementary $2 billion from the European Community as his price for letting Spain and Portugal join the community.

"Sure New Democracy started the subsidies," said Costas Midanos, a New Democracy supporter, "but we're getting much more under Pasok."

The villagers also gave Pasok high marks for linking the town with the central water supply in Athens, about 45 miles away.

"Before we used to get water two hours in the morning, two hours in the afternoon, and two hours at night," one man said. "And often you'd get all soaped up and there was no water to rinse in."

More important for the town's old people, who make up roughly half the population, was Pasok's extension of free medical care and prescription drugs to farmers and the increase of farmers' pensions from 2,000 drachmas ($15) to 14,000 ($105) per couple monthly.

When they got around to foreign policy, the villagers betrayed that innate Greek sense of pride and longing for independence that Papandreou has exploited so successfully to the exasperation of Greece's western allies, who have become his favorite whipping boys.

"We want to be completely independent," Dimitris said, explaining that he felt his country had been manipulated by the British and the Americans for decades.

But if Papandreou ever carried out his threat to close U.S. military bases, Washington would stop its $500 million annual military aid program. Then how could Greece face the Turks who he claims are more threatening to Greece than the Soviets? Not a single man in the coffeeshops mentioned seeking protection from the Soviets. But one young farmer said proudly, "We will do it ourselves."