New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday pledged to overhaul the conservative party’s youth wing (ONNED) following upheaval at the ONNED congress on Saturday.
Meeting ahead of the main New Democracy congress this weekend, ONNED had been scheduled to elect representatives to sit on the ND political committee, the youth wing’s own central committee, and delegates for the party congress.
The event – effectively a power struggle between different camps to maximize their share of delegates in the upcoming congress – was marred by numerous complaints over the voting procedures and allegations of ballot manipulation that led Mitsotakis to announce Monday that he would not recognize the results and ban ONNED delegates from the upcoming conference.
Late Monday, Andreas Papamimikos was forced to quit as party secretary while Vassilis Georgiadis was ejected from the party less than two months after his appointment as ONNED chief.
Papamimikos came under fire in November after technical problems led to the embarrassing cancellation of ND’s leadership vote. Mitsotakis was elected in a repeat vote in January.
“The shameful spectacle at the ONNED congress… was a sign of decline and the end of an era,” Mitsotakis said in a statement while pledging to rebuild the youth organization.
“We are leaving behind the negative mentalities and practices, and the mechanisms for bestowing political favors and for distributing privileges which have corroded the party’s youth organization and its appeal among the younger generation,” he said.
Mitsotakis’s reaction was welcomed by several senior ND officials.