Parties start announcing candidates for European Parliament elections

The race for the May 25 European elections is hotting up, with parties starting to announce their candidates for the crucial vote.

SYRIZA announced most of the 42 that will be on its list of hopefuls following a meeting of the party’s central committee on Sunday. New Democracy is set to unveil its list on Tuesday.

SYRIZA’s candidates include constitutional expert Giorgos Katrougalos, documentary maker Stelios Kouloglou, Kathimerini columnist Nikos Xydakis, unionist Κonstantina Kuneva and labor expert Savvas Robolis.

Apart from the election of the candidates, the meeting of the central committee was dominated by a discussion about Greece’s euro membership after SYRIZA’s leftist factions, the Left Platform, submitted a proposal for the country to return to its own currency.

After a vote, the proposal submitted by the head of the Left Platform, MP Panayiotis Lafazanis, was rejected.

“People need to now what will happen in all eventualities: The euro represents a political and ideological direction,” he said. “In the eurozone, not even the simplest of reforms is possible.”

New Democracy is due to announce its candidates on Tuesday. According to sources, New Democracy has opted to back existing MPs such as Manolis Kefaloyiannis and Costas Mousouroulis and MEPs such as Manolis Mavrommatis.

However, candidates from other walks of life will also be added to the list. These are likely to include composer Stavros Xarchakos, professor of medicine Christodoulos Stefanadis, ex-Greek soccer team captain Theodoris Zagorakis, Mega TV political reporter Maria Spyraki and publisher Giorgos Kyrtsos.

Independent Greeks are due to name their candidates on Monday.

An MRB poll for indicated that SYRIZA has a narrow lead over New Democracy heading into the May elections. The leftists garnered 19.9 percent of support, against 19.7 for New Democracy.

They are followed by To Potami on 9.2 percent, Golden Dawn on 8.3 and the Communist Party on 6.1. The Olive Tree alliance, which includes PASOK, gathers 5.3, Independent Greeks 4 and Democratic Left 2.7.

Almost 7 percent of respondents said they would vote for other parties, while 18 percent are undecided about who they will support.