The four candidates vying for New Democracy’s leadership appeared to have reached a truce on Wednesday 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, ex-minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Central Macedonia Governor Apostolos Tziztikostas and former minister Adonis Georgiadis met in Parliament on Wednesday 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 on Wednesday 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 on Friday.