Former defense minister elected Parliament speaker

Former Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis was elected Parliament speaker on Friday with a record number of 223 votes. He was New Democracy’s sole candidate for the job and received backing from both PASOK and Democratic Left MPs, as well as deputies from other parties.

On Thursday, radical left coalition SYRIZA and right-wing Independent Greeks were thought to be opposing the nomination and were reportedly going to support another ND candidate.

Following his election, Meimarakis will have to settle a dispute between SYRIZA and the Greek Communist party regarding MPs seating arrangements.

Furthermore, the House will also have to decide whether to approve Chrysi Avgi’s (Golden Dawn) choice for deputy speaker. Each of the seven parties elected to Parliament following the June 17 election is allowed a deputy speaker, provided that candidates receive at least 75 deputy votes.

Born in Athens in 1953, Meimarakis is a veteran New Democracy member who has been elected to Parliament since 1989. A lawyer, Meimarakis was a founding member of the conservative party’s youth organization, ONNED. He served as Deputy Minister for Culture during the 1992-1993 period and was appointed Defense Minister in 2006.

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