Despite public assertions of party unity, the four candidates in New Democracy’s leadership race are removing their gloves ahead of the first round of the contest set for November 22. Escalating confrontation does not always come in the form of public statements.
Evangelos Meimarakis, the conservatives’ caretaker president, on Friday responded to assertions leaked by officials close to Central Macedonia Governor Apostolos Tzitzikostas that he should leave ND’s headquarters in the runup to the vote. Meimarakis hit back proposing that all candidates move into the premises on Syngrou Avenue.
A source close to another candidate, former minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, noted that “ND’s president also happens to be a candidate. We are certain that Meimarakis will handle this sensitive position with due discretion.” He also directed criticism at Tzitzikostas, who is not an elected member of Parliament, saying that his election would demand a dual leadership of the party until 2019. “Tzitzikostas has to say in public… who will lead ND’s parliamentary group if he is elected president,” Mitsotakis told Vima FM. However, he ruled out the threat of a split inside Greece’s main opposition.
“Anyone who tries to divide ND on the day after will face the anger of New Democracy voters who want that unity to be protected.”
His call for unity was echoed by ex-minister Adonis Georgiadis. “I want us to stay friends on the day after,” he said. “Our aim is to make ND a bigger party, not a smaller one.”