Samaras targets corruption

New Democracy’s recently elected leader, Antonis Samaras, has pledged to shut out of his party any members suspected of corrupt practices and is open to the possibility of working with the government to stamp out graft in Greece. Speaking to Sunday’s Kathimerini just days after being elected ND’s new president, Samaras outlined how he plans to overhaul the conservative party, which took a heavy beating in October’s general election. «This is not a divided party,» he said. «I will make meritocratic decisions everywhere, nothing more. We will all take part in the effort to revive the party, nobody will be surplus to requirements.» Samaras said that there will be no room for politicians suspected of corrupt practices in his party. «The only thing that we will be absolute on is issues of morals and personal behavior,» he said. «Of course, the process of renewal will go deep in terms of personnel and ideas but there are some old and experienced party members that will be put to good use.» Samaras added that he would not be making any attempt to shape the party’s policy in such a way as to attract conservative supporters who left ND to back the ultra right-wing Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS). «The main thing we have to do is to bring back all the people who did not vote for us and abstained instead,» he said. «If we do that, then we will once again have built up a momentum that could get us back into power.» Samaras also said that he would be willing to back Prime Minister George Papandreou in a bid to tackle corruption after the premier said that he wants to convene a meeting of party leaders to agree on common principles. «If he really wants, we can have healthy competition and see who produces the best ideas about stamping out graft.»

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