Lists unveiled before debate

Ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK yesterday announced their lists for state deputies in next month’s elections as the leaders of all political parties represented in Parliament braced for the first of two much-hyped, televised debates tonight. The lists, representing candidates who are not elected directly but according to the percentage that their party gains in the polls, have been the focus of much attention, as they are seen as a way of appealing to undecided voters and often include eminent personalities who are not career politicians. ND’s list held few surprises. The coveted top spot on the ballot went to Environment and Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias. He was followed by parliament speaker Dimitris Sioufas, the Interior Ministry’s general secretary Evgenia Tsoumani-Spentza, and Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou, director of the European Institute of Law, Science and Technology. Veteran cadre and former ND party leader Miltiades Evert was at the bottom of the list, an indication that ND is trying to distance itself from its old guard. PASOK’s list was more imaginative. Although it is to be headed by party secretary Yiannis Ragousis, it has Elena Panariti, an economist with several years of experience in the World Bank, in second place. She is followed by eminent social policy professor Elias Mossialos and travel journalist Magia Tsokli in fourth place. It is expected that the top four or five candidates on PASOK and ND’s lists will gain seats in Parliament, as each party is virtually certain to secure the required 8 percent of the popular vote. Meanwhile, political leaders pushed on with their respective campaign trails, addressing crowds in major cities and giving interviews to the national and foreign press. PASOK leader George Papandreou told Kathimerini that he would not tolerate feudalism in his party, a clear dig at opposition cadres who might be planning a leadership challenge. Countering accusations by ND of peddling groundless optimism to voters, the PASOK leader told Kathimerini that his party «will not hide the truth about the current state of the nation…so the Greek people can see what room we have for maneuver.»