Local elections highlight ND split

The November local elections appear to be signaling an opportunity for scores to be settled within New Democracy, as the split between those who remain loyal to leader Antonis Samaras and those who are placing their trust in former party member and now independent deputy Dora Bakoyannis appears to be getting wider. Samaras’s decision to boot former Public Order Minister Christos Markoyiannakis out of the party after he suggested that he should have been the conservative candidate for Crete, appears to have sparked an all-out war between the Samaras and Bakoyannis camps. Markoyiannakis, who suggested that he may now team up with Bakoyannis if she forms her own party, unleashed a strong attack on Samaras, who he accused of employing «Stalinist» tactics. «The New Democracy president is insecure and this is making him see ghosts and enemies,» he said, while also making a jibe about Political Spring – the party that Samaras formed after leaving ND in the 1990s – «coming to gobble up New Democracy.» Sources close to Samaras responded by saying that the ND leader could no longer allow the party to appear deeply split in public. The ousting of Markoyiannakis has also left Bakoyannis’s brother, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, in a difficult position. Mitsotakis insisted he has no intention of stepping down as a conservative MP but suggested that he disagreed with Samaras’s decision. «I believe that, in politics, addition and multiplication are always more useful than subtraction and division,» he told reporters. Meanwhile, Bakoyiannis’s son, Pavlos, has declared that he will stand as candidate for mayor of Karpenisi, in central Greece, in the November 7 poll.