ND hope­fuls reach truce

Four lead­er­ship can­di­dates meet to dampen ten­sion within party ahead of vote

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The four can­di­dates vy­ing for New Democ­racy’s lead­er­ship ap­peared to have reached a truce yesterday af­ter a bout of in­fight­ing raised doubts about whether the vote, whose first round is due on Novem­ber 22, would even take place.

Cur­rent leader Evan­ge­los Meimarakis, exmin­is­ter Kyr­i­akos Mit­so­takis, Cen­tral Mace­do­nia Gover­nor Apos­to­los Tz­iztikostas and for­mer min­is­ter Ado­nis Ge­or­giadis met in Par­lia­ment yesterday af­ter ef­forts by the lat­ter to ease the ris­ing ten­sion within the party.

“Ahead of the vote on Novem­ber 22, the four can­di­dates for the lead­er­ship of New Democ­racy send a clear mes­sage of party unity, trans­parency as far as the process is con­cerned and a pledge to fol­low the party’s char­ter faith­fully,” the four men said in a state­ment.

“Our only op­po­si­tion is [Prime Min­is­ter Alexis] Tsipras, his gov­ern­ment and the coun­try’s prob­lems,” they added.

The meet­ing was deemed nec­es­sary af­ter an out­burst by Meimarakis a day ear­lier. He with­drew his rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the party’s elec­toral com­mit­tee af­ter dis­agree­ing with the way that the panel had de­cided on which IT com­pany should han­dle the Novem­ber 22 bal­lot.

The di­vi­sion this move caused led to some con­ser­va­tive MPs sug­gest­ing that next month’s vote should be post­poned and a party congress be held in­stead. How­ever, tem­pers seemed to be un­der con­trol yesterday and af­ter a dis­cus­sion with his ri­vals, Meimarakis ap­peared to set aside his con­cerns about the pro­ce­dure.

How­ever, it ap­pears that the prospect of a live tele­vised de­bate be­tween the four can­di­dates is now out of the ques­tion. Meimarakis and Tz­i­tizkostas have in­di­cated an un­will­ing­ness to take part in such an event.

The meet­ing of the four can­di­dates took place be­fore a gath­er­ing of the party’s par­lia­men­tary group. Af­ter­ward, Meimarakis con­firmed his MPs would vote against the om­nibus bill sub­mit­ted to Par­lia­ment on Mon­day. The bal­lot on the leg­is­la­tion needed to help un­lock another 2 bil­lion eu­ros in bailout funds is due to­mor­row.

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