ND leadership contenders submit bids as deadline nears


Former minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Central Macedonia Governor Apostolos Tzitzikostas on Friday formally submitted their bids to contest the leadership of conservative New Democracy.

After thanking members of the party's political committee for backing his candidacy, Mitsotakis said he looked forward to dialogue with his fellow challengers about the future of New Democracy which has lost popularity after participating in pro-bailout governments.

"I can guarantee one thing: that by turning toward society, our party will emerge much more united and much stronger," he said.

Earlier in comments to Skai, Mitsotakis slammed ND's interim leader Evangelos Meimarakis for claiming to be the only person who can preserve ND's unity. "Meimarakis is a choice that will lead to stagnation," he said. Meimarakis formally submitted his bid to run in the election, which will take place later this year, on Thursday. 

Tzitzikostas also submitted his bid on Friday. In comments to reporters, he said Greece was not experiencing a crisis but a "decline," adding that citizens were not only concerned about the state of the economy but about "a lack of vision."

It remained unclear whether former health minister Adonis Georgiadis will have collected the minimum of 60 signatures of political committee members to join the race before the deadline at 6 p.m. on Friday.

Aides close to European Commissioner for Immigration and Home Affairs, Dimitris Avramopoulos, refuted rumors that he would also join the race.