Ex-PM backs Samaras

In his first public statement in two-and-half years, former conservative Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday appealed to center-right voters to back New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras in upcoming snap elections describing him as the only choice for political stability.

In a written statement, Karamanlis noted that the ?necessary prerequisite for political and governmental stability is the reinforcement of New Democracy and Antonis Samaras.? ?The greater the support they receive, the stronger the hope that we can emerge from the crisis without an even greater cost,? Karamanlis wrote.

Samaras was clearly buoyed by the support, claiming to have ?maintained an excellent relationship with Mr. Karamanlis, a relationship of depth, duration and with future.?

Karamanlis? statement was his first public intervention since November 2009, a month after the conservatives suffered a crushing defeat to socialist PASOK, when he launched the process for his replacement as ND leader at a party conference. The former premier also sent a written response to a parliamentary committee probing the Vatopedi land swap affair since then, but nothing else.

Karamanlis had been planning to make a public expression of support for Samaras for several days, sources told Kathimerini. He is running as a candidate in Thessaloniki where, as a former prime minister, he is guaranteed a seat.

Meanwhile ND unveiled its state list of candidates, topped by the head of the national association of judges and prosecutors, Haralambos Athanassiou. The choice of Athanassiou was warmly received by many in the ranks of ND who regard it as signalling an effort to clean up corruption in public life. Samaras described the state list — which comprises candidates who are not directly elected but gain seats in Parliament in proportion to the share of the vote their party secures — as one that ?rewards merit, distinction and moral values.? ?We are sending out this message to all, the message that, despite the adversities, despite he problems left behind by PASOK, Greece is a rich country that can make it and will make it,? Samaras said.