Internal rumblings dogging ND gov’t

New Democracy yesterday attempted to put behind its latest internal difficulty, involving some controversial comments by Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, as it looks ahead to a parliamentary debate on the economy later this week. Avramopoulos caused a stir over the weekend by suggesting that Greece is the only European country that has failed to come up with a concerted plan to deal with the economic crisis. His statement prompted furious communication with the prime minister’s office over the weekend before Avramopoulos issued a statement saying that his comments had been misinterpreted by the press. The government sought to put an end to the issue yesterday. «The matter is closed,» said government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros. «Words are but words,» said ND party secretary Lefteris Zagoritis. «What would be useful is for each of us to work specifically within our own area of responsibility.» However, despite the conservatives’ effort to banish the cloud of infighting that has been hovering over them recently, a number of ND deputies continued to give the impression that the atmosphere within the party is far from harmonious. Athens MP Yiannis Manolis, for instance, began speculating publicly about who might succeed Costas Karamanlis as ND leader when the party loses the next general election. Another Athens deputy, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, called on the prime minister to personally intervene to put a stop to talk of early elections, which has gathered pace recently.

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