Preparations for a runoff vote for the New Democracy leadership between Evangelos Meimarakis and Kyriakos Mitsotakis were under way on Monday after the two candidates came out on top in Sunday’s ballot.
The official results were not available by Monday night as the conservatives were waiting for electoral committees around the country to fax in results so ND officials could check them against the ones provided by the vote-counting software used during the election.
Nevertheless, the indications were that Meimarakis would win around 40 percent of the vote, some 10 points short of the 50+ percent that would have secured him a win from the first round, while Mitsotakis, the former administrative reform minister, was seen getting close to 30 percent.
The other two candidates, Apostolos Tzitzikostas and Adonis Georgiadis, were expected to garner around 20 and 12 percent respectively.
Georgiadis immediately declared his support for his former cabinet colleague Mitsotakis. “I will support his candidacy for three reasons,” said Georgiadis, a former health minister.
“Firstly, because I feel the time for renewal has come. Secondly, because it is important for two people with different ideologies to cooperate and help the entire party express itself. And, thirdly, because Kyriakos and I have already worked together perfectly and implemented a series of successful reforms.”
Having upset the opinion polls on who would make it into the runoff vote, which is due to be held on January 10, Mitsotakis stressed that his candidacy rather than that of older party veteran Meimarakis is the one that offers the conservatives hope for the future.
“In the first round, the message from 60 percent or more of new and old members was clear,” said the former minister in reference to those who did not vote for Meimarakis. “Our duty is to put their mandate into practice. The wave of creative renewal will grow and be victorious on January 10.”
Mitsotakis, however, faces a challenge in overcoming Meimarakis, who may not need to attract more votes to win next month if fewer people vote. Some 400,000 cast ballots on Sunday, which was far more than expected. Tzitzikostas is not expected to publicly support either candidate but will probably indirectly back Mitsotakis.