ND reeling from list omissions

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis attempted yesterday to prevent New Democracy from turning on itself by insisting that nobody had influenced him to leave some big names off the party’s ticket for the October 4 general elections. «It was my decision, without influence from anyone else,» he said in an interview on Antenna TV last night in response to an outburst from former Employment Minister Savvas Tsitouridis, who was omitted from the candidate list. Tsitouridis publicly suggested that «corrupt forces» within the conservative party had been responsible for him being left out. Although he did not mention any names, promising instead to speak out after the elections, Tsitouridis is thought to have blamed Karamanlis’s adviser Yiannis Loulis and Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias. The latter denied that he played any part in influencing Karamanlis to leave out Tsitouridis and other high-profile conservative figures such as ex-Deputy Finance Minister Petros Doukas and former Aegean Minister Aristotelis Pavlidis. «I categorically state that I was not involved in drawing up the candidate lists in any prefecture,» he said. ND campaign spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said that Tsitouridis had been left out because of his outspoken criticism of Karamanlis’s decision to call a snap poll. PASOK tried to make political capital of the turmoil in New Democracy by highlighting Karamanlis’s failure to remove politicians like Tsitouridis and Pavlidis, who have been tainted by scandals, from the party earlier. «We have always said that Mr Karamanlis did not make decisions when he needed to,» said PASOK spokesman Giorgos Papaconstantinou.