New Democracy’s leadership contest got under way unofficially on Tuesday as former administrative reform minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced his intention to stand in the race to elect a new party president later this year.
Mitsotakis revealed on ANT1 TV on Tuesday night that he intends to challenge for the spot after current leader Evangelos Meimarakis indicated he would pave the way for a leadership contest following New Democracy’s disappointing performance in Sunday’s elections.
“I would not be a candidate if I did not believe in my strengths,” said Mitsotakis. “Freedom, meritocracy, justice and equal opportunities will be New Democracy’s values [if I win].”
At 47, Mitsotakis may be the youngest candidate in the conservative party’s leadership race and he stressed on Tuesday that he would like to oversee a renewal of the party’s personnel. “New Democracy is something old,” he said. “If I am leader there will be a gradual renewal of party personnel.”
Meimarakis, who has the support of the New Democracy faction that is loyal to former leader Costas Karamanlis, suggested on Tuesday that he has not made up his mind if he will stand for the leadership. “I am heading toward ‘no’ because it is well known that I disagree with the voting process,” he said, indicating that he wants party members to be able to take part in the ballot.
Mitsotakis also favors opening up the voting to include people are not already party members. It is expected that the election will take place before the end of October.