Ex-cabinet secretary Baltakos to form his own party

Former cabinet secretary Panayiotis Baltakos, ousted from government earlier this year when it was revealed he had held a secret meeting with Golden Dawn, is to form his own party.

Baltakos, who had been one of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s closest aides, said that the new party would be called Rizes (Roots).

He said that New Democracy is “no longer a right-wing party” as its coalition with PASOK had forced it to adopt centrist policies.

“The 16.5 percent of voters who backed parties to the right of New Democracy [in the European Parliament elections] have to regroup,” he said. “If New Democracy could count on this share of the vote, it would be able to form a single-party government.”

Baltakos said former Independent Greeks MP Vassilis Kapernaros, who is now non-aligned, would join the new party. The former government official also indicated that Samaras had been informed about his plans to launch the new group.