PM mulls action to restore ND unity

Costas Karamanlis is preparing to go on the offensive in a bid to wipe out internal wrangles within New Democracy, caused by opposition to certain government policies from some MPs, party unionists and hardliners, sources close to the prime minister told Kathimerini yesterday. The ongoing dispute involving cotton farmers, who are threatening to blockade roads around the country if the government does not buy up their excess produce, has brought the issue to the fore. Many leading officials in the ND union (DAKE) are opposed to the government’s refusal to give in to farmers’ demands. New Democracy Secretary Evangelos Meimarakis has hinted at the possible expulsion of some members from the party. However, sources indicate that polls conducted on behalf of the Maximos Mansion suggests that the government may be better off by refusing to be drawn into a public slanging match with its internal critics. The theory seems to be that the more the unionists and others criticize, the more it dispels the impression in the mind of the public that New Democracy is simply satisfying the demands of its «own boys» and not serving the greater good. The approach to the dissention among MPs, however, is likely to be very different according to sources. The prime minister is said to be unwilling to accept such deviations from the party line and may take steps to tackle the problem.