New Democracy ministers, deputies and officials were ordered yesterday not to talk about PASOK’s decision to appoint a Greek Muslim woman as its candidate to run for Drama-Kavala-Xanthi prefect in October after comments by the local minister sparked controversy. Government sources said that the Prime Minister’s Office instructed party officials to refrain from commenting on the choice of 28-year-old Gulbeyaz Karahasan as the Socialist candidate in northeastern Greece because it was helping unite PASOK behind the nominee at a time when the Socialists were divided over the choice. Macedonia-Thrace Minister Giorgos Kalatzis stirred reaction over the weekend with comments that seemed to question Karahasan’s loyalty to Greece. The ruling conservatives were quick to distance themselves from this impression yesterday. «The government does not comment on PASOK’s nominations for local authorities. The citizens are those that judge, compare and ultimately choose,» said alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros. «All Greek citizens have the right to vote and to be elected.» Kalatzis also appeared to retract his comment in which he queried whether Karahasan would stand next to him during the March 25 celebrations which mark the beginning of the Greek war of independence from Turkish rule. Yesterday he said he was sure that Karahasan would be with him at the parade and said he had never questioned her nationality. He also said Bishop Anthimos of Thessaloniki should «look after his own house» after the religious leader said he objected to PASOK’s nomination.