NEWS

After vote fiasco, New Democracy to hold crisis talks

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Evangelos Meimarakis is expected to formally resign as interim leader of New Democracy when the conservative party’s parliamentary group convenes on Tuesday evening for crisis talks after a party leadership election that had been scheduled for last Sunday was called off, purportedly due to problems with the IT company that was to handle the ballot.

The crisis talks, which are to start at 7 p.m., follow a day of tensions in the conservative party ranks. Accusations and insults were traded on Monday between the contenders for the party’s leadership as well as other prominent conservative cadres. Meanwhile speculation mounted about a possible party split.

Among the issues to be discussed is the date the election will be held – probably on December 13 – and the IT company that will be assigned this time.

After coming under fire from his challengers, and other ND cadres, Meimarakis hit back on Monday, firing a broadside at former prime minister Antonis Samaras, who, he claimed, had knowledge of the IT company in question and had vouched for its ability to handle the job. The claims were rebuffed by sources close to ND.

Meimarakis also indirectly suggested that Samaras backed Apostolos Tzitzikostas, the regional governor of Central Macedonia, in the leadership race.

Tzitzikostas, who was the closest challenger to Meimarakis in the race, on Monday hinted that the latter sabotaged the ballot. Former minister Adonis Georgiadis was less forceful but urged Meimarakis to “take the initiative.” Meanwhile a letter sent to Meimarakis by the fourth challenger, another former conservative minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, on November 11, is said to have underlined serious shortfalls in preparations for the vote.

Meimarakis is expected to propose that Yiannis Plakiotakis, the secretary of ND’s parliamentary group, be appointed acting party leader until the election is held.