ND prepares lists as bond scandal threatens plans

New Democracy made efforts to finalize its candidate list and policy program for the general election as the bond scandal resurfaced as a potentially decisive issue ahead of next month’s poll. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis set the tone for his party’s campaign by highlighting five key areas that would be a «top priority for the new government.» He said these would be the completion of the constitutional review, the reform of Greece’s social security system, an overhaul of the way the country is administered, the continuation of changes to the education system and the strengthening of the welfare state. The ruling conservatives last night announced most of the candidates that will be running on the ND ticket on September 16, though a few more names are likely to be added by the end of the week. The decision to include the chief of the armed forces, Admiral Panayiotis Hinofotis, on the conservative ticket was confirmed yesterday and was decried by PASOK, which said the move would lead to party politics affecting Greece’s army, navy and air force. One of those who will not be standing for ND is former Prime Minister Tzannis Tzannetakis, who met with Karamanlis to inform him of his decision to retire from politics. «At some point, as Socrates told Plato, one must know when it is time to depart,» said Tzannetakis. «One must leave fit and strong and not be dragged away.» However, Tzannetakis’s retirement was overshadowed by a new twist to the bond saga after prosecutor Giorgos Koliocostas revealed that he had sent back the report on the scandal prepared by Giorgos Zorbas, the head of the committee to combat money laundering, because the other 11 members on the panel had not signed the findings of the probe. Koliocostas said he had only forwarded the evidence gathered by Zorbas to an investigating magistrate and not his conclusions because the committee had not approved them. PASOK’s new spokesman Yiannis Ragoussis demanded to know how Koliocostas, just one day earlier, had used the findings of the Zorbas probe to suggest that members of the government were not involved in the bond scandal, even though the report was not deemed to satisfy legal requirements.