Samaras braces for second round of in-party strife

After a marathon meeting of New Democracy’s MPs where party chief Antonis Samaras sought to affirm his status as top dog inside the conservative opposition, the former prime minister is bracing for a second round of inner-party wrangling on Sunday.

The meeting of the party’s political committee, a much larger body than the parliamentary group, is not expected to upset the in-party equilibrium. The session, however, will likely be a bumpy one for the right-wing leader as committee members are not bound by the same concerns as ND’s elected deputies. If there is a snap poll, MPs will be elected on the basis of a so-called “list” system, or in the order set by their party leader.

Party veteran Dimitris Avramopoulos is also expected to take part in Sunday’s meeting – a rare intervention in ND affairs since his appointment as Greece’s European commissioner in Brussels last year.

On Thursday, Samaras countered pressure from several senior ND officials – including Dora Bakoyannis, Nikos Dendias, Costis Hatzidakis and Kyriakos Mitsotakis – to call an extraordinary congress, saying that such an event would be a sign of “introversion” and a “gift to SYRIZA.”

In comments made Friday, Makis Voridis, a frontline member of ND and a Samaras ally, said the proposal for an extraordinary congress was put forward by “no more than seven to eight [deputies].”

Dendias put the number at 20. “I wish that Samaras had accepted the proposal,” he said.