Bakoyannis ahead in ND race

The first opinion poll after the closing date for candidates to declare their interest in leading New Democracy indicates that Former Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis is the clear favorite to become the party’s next president. A Public Issue survey for Sunday’s Kathimerini suggests that among New Democracy supporters, 34 percent believe that Bakoyannis is the most suitable person to lead the conservative party. Ex-Culture Minister Antonis Samaras is the second most popular candidate but is some distance from Bakoyannis, with 16 percent of ND supporters favoring him. Former Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos has a rating of 12 percent, while Thessaloniki Prefect Panayiotis Psomiadis has the approval of just 6 percent of conservatives. Bakoyannis is also the most popular candidate when the views of other parties’ supporters are taken into account – garnering 28 percent, compared to 15 percent for Samaras and 13 for Avramopoulos. According to the poll, Bakoyannis’s greatest strength, in the opinion of those questioned, is that of the four candidates she has the best chances of winning the next general election. Almost six in 10 respondents believe she has the qualities necessary to be victorious at the ballot box. Samaras’s greatest strength is that he can «renew» ND, according to 23 percent of those polled. Avramopoulos’s best quality is that he can keep the party united, said 24 percent. As the four candidates head toward a December election – the exact date of which has yet to be confirmed – there seems to be little interest in the contest among voters. The survey indicates that 62 percent of just over 1,000 respondents have little or no interest in developments in New Democracy. Only 17 percent said they were very interested. This does not compare favorably with the attention people paid to the PASOK leadership race two years ago. All four candidates spent the weekend campaigning in various parts of Greece. During a speech in Thessaloniki, Bakoyannis said that, if she was elected ND president, she would suggest changes to the party’s constitution that would include: the leader serving a four-year term and having to be re-elected to remain in the position; holding referendums within the party on some key issues; and publishing ND’s accounts to ensure greater transparency.