SYRIZA attempted on Friday to end the controversy over its selection of local election candidates by announcing that journalist Theodoros Karypidis would not be running on the party’s ticket in Western Macedonia. This came as New Democracy found itself caught up in separate turmoil regarding who would represent the conservatives in Central Macedonia.
A brief statement from SYRIZA’s political secretariat revealed that Karypidis would no longer represent the party in the contest for the region’s governorship, despite being selected to do so less than a week earlier. The decision was taken after Facebook comments in which the journalist made anti-Semitic and Golden Dawn-friendly remarks were widely publicized.
The secretariat’s decision went against the position of the local party committee, which had voted in favor Karypidis continuing to represent SYRIZA despite his controversial comments and him not being a party member. The leftists now have to name a new candidate.
As SYRIZA was attempting to tie up this loose end in Western Macedonia, New Democracy also faced its own difficulties in the neighboring region of Central Macedonia. There, the existing governor, Apostolos Tzitzicostas, declared his candidacy. This came as a surprise to his party, ND, which had wanted him to challenge Yiannis Boutaris for the mayorship of Thessaloniki.
Shortly after Tzitzicostas shunned his party’s instructions, New Democracy MP Yiannis Ioannidis said he would run for the governorship in Central Macedonia. Sources said that Ioannidis declared his intentions with the party’s blessing. Tzitzicostas insisted he would still run, even though the conservatives would back a different candidate.
New Democracy is continuing to look for a candidate to run for mayor of Athens. Former Education Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos is the latest name to be linked with the candidacy.
Also on Friday, Interior Minister Yiannis Michelakis submitted to Parliament an amendment that would allow the first round of elections to take place on June 18, with the second round happening a week later, on the same Sunday as the European Parliament vote.