Ex-FM launches centrist party

Former conservative Foreign Minister and New Democracy outcast Dora Bakoyannis yesterday broke a long silence and launched her own political party, named Democratic Alliance, before an audience of about 5,000 supporters. In a speech at a crowded Badminton Theater in Goudi, Bakoyannis said that her party would be a business-friendly alliance that would seek «cooperation and common ground with other political forces» from the center of the spectrum to help extract Greece from its debt crisis. The new party’s logo is an olive tree in blue and orange colors. The 56-year-old politician, who served as mayor of Athens between 2002 and 2006 and foreign minister under the previous conservative government from 2006 to 2009, defended her decision to vote in favor of an international rescue plan for Greece in May, a move that led ND leader Antonis Samaras to oust her from the party. «There were some measures in the memorandum that I disagreed with and still disagree with,» Bakoyannis said, referring to the agreement between Greece and its international creditors. «But at that moment, in May, the dilemma was inexorable for all, approval of the rescue mechanism or immediate bankruptcy,» she added. Bakoyannis also directed clear criticism against ND for its rhetoric against the rescue package. «Choosing not to vote for saving your country and not bearing the political cost of your decisions is the epitome of extreme and irresponsible populist politics,» she said. Several former ND cadres attended Bakoyannis’s speech and there were reports of interest by current members of ND, fueling speculation that Bakoyannis’s venture will weaken the already strife-riven main conservative opposition.