It appears that three candidates will challenge each other for the leadership of New Democracy as ex-health minister Adonis Georgiadis narrowly missed the opportunity to join the race Friday as he submitted his paperwork just minutes after the 6 p.m. deadline.
The party’s electoral commission decided Friday evening that Georgiadis should not be allowed to run against current leader Evangelos Meimarakis, ex-administrative reform minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Central Macedonia Governor Apostolos Tziztikostas.
Each candidate had to collect a minimum of 50 signatures from members of New Democracy’s political committee. On Friday afternoon, Georgiadis tweeted that he was five signatures short, but shortly after 6 p.m. he was seen sprinting into New Democracy’s headquarters to submit his paperwork. On his way to the party’s offices, he tweeted: “I’ve got them. I’m going.”
The political committee member who provided Georgiadis with the final signature he needed admitted that he did not agree with the former minister’s views. “I approved Adonis Georgiadis’s candidacy 30 minutes before the deadline after I was informed that he had collected 49 signatures,” said Vassilis Tokakis. “I do not agree with his political positions but I will not cease to support any candidates right to challenge for our supporters’ votes.”
The next contentious moment in the leadership contest could be the decision on when party members will vote. Meimarakis favors a short campaign and has proposed the ballot be held on October 18. Mitsotakis and Tzitzikostas, however, would prefer to have more time to get their messages across. Mitsotakis has put forward November 15 as a possible date for the vote.