ND and PASOK ready to play their final cards

New Democracy and PASOK are set tomorrow to announce their lists for state deputies in the October 4 elections, ahead of two televised debates in what are likely to be the last decisive moments of this campaign. Much attention is being focused on the 12 names that the two parties will announce tomorrow, as it is an opportunity for both prime-ministerial candidates to appeal to undecided voters or to lock in those that are already leaning their way. Under the Greek electoral system, several seats in Parliament go to deputies of state who are not directly elected. Their names are placed on a list compiled by each party and they are elected according to the percentage that their party gains. These positions usually go to people who are not career politicians and only those at the top of the list have a chance of being elected. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is coming under great pressure from members of his own party not to use the top spots on ND’s list for established conservative politicians. It is rumored that the 70-year-old former minister and leader of New Democracy, Miltiades Evert, will head the ND list, prompting concern in conservative ranks that this would counter Karamanlis’s claims that there has been renewal within the party. Sources within PASOK suggested that the Socialists would go in a different direction, naming people from nonpolitical fields on their list, which, however, is likely to be headed by party secretary Yiannis Ragousis. The lists may be a topic that comes up in Monday’s and Tuesday’s televised debates, the structure of which has yet to be decided, as the journalists that will be asking the questions yesterday complained that the format is too rigid and renders them useless. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis was admitted to the Henry Dunant Hospital in Athens suffering from infectious pneumonia. Doctors said the pneumonia had not been caused by swine flu. Bakoyannis, said to be in good spirits, is receiving intravenous antibiotics and doctors will monitor her condition over the weekend. Avramopoulos upbeat; Pangalos seeks consensus to keep Dimas in EC Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos has told Kathimerini that he is throwing his full weight behind New Democracy’s election campaign, despite his earlier publicly expressed opposition to snap polls, and has stressed the need for reforms of the economy and a bureaucracy-ridden state system. «I am doing my very best to prove now that I was wrong then,» Avramopoulos said in an interview with Kathimerini. The minister stressed the importance of ruling New Democracy «receiving the messages sent by citizens and translating them into political decisions.» He conceded that the government was guilty of « mistakes and shortfalls» but noted that «in the final analysis, the outcome of its efforts have been positive.» Meanwhile, a veteran deputy of main opposition PASOK, former minister Theo-doros Pangalos, has told Kathimerini that the two main parties should come together to ensure that the European Commission’s environment portfolio remains in the hands of Stavros Dimas.