NEWS

Government’s majority secure

The prospects of the government bolstering its wafer-thin majority in Parliament were boosted yesterday when a rebel New Democracy deputy, ousted from the party’s parliamentary group on Tuesday for criticizing several government advisers, wrote to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis asking to be reinstated. In his letter to Karamanlis, Stavros Dailakis apologizes for his critical comments and seeks his reinstatement but says he will resign if the premier refuses to take him back. The MP’s resignation would lead to his position being filled by another party member, allowing ND to regain its 152-seat majority in the country’s 300-seat Parliament. «My recent statements had the sole aim of supporting you,» Dailakis wrote in the letter to Karamanlis, referring to his calls for the resignation of government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos and other officials during a television interview. «Please immediately consider my return to the parliamentary group, otherwise my resignation is at your disposal,» Dailakis added in his letter, noting that he believed he «could not exist politically outside of New Democracy.» Karamanlis had not issued a response to the deputy’s appeal by late yesterday. But alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said the government «appreciates the initiative taken by Stavros Dailakis,» adding that «this action will be considered.» Sources within ND yesterday told Kathimerini that Dailakis’s move was broadly considered to display «political bravery.» The same sources revealed that since the rebel MP’s dismissal on Tuesday a very large number of ND deputies had spoken to Dailakis in a bid to defuse the tension within the party fueled by his comments. There was said to be a general sense of relief within government circles yesterday as Dailakis’s move protects the government’s majority, whether Karamanlis decides to welcome him back into the fold or not. It is thought that a response to Dailakis’s letter will be issued over the weekend, and certainly by Monday when ND’s parliamentary group is due to convene. The development comes at a crucial moment for the government with the latest opinion poll by Kappa Research putting ND’s lead just 0.7 percent ahead of the main opposition PASOK.