ND in confusion

Unpleasant as it may be for the conservative New Democracy party leadership, it cannot avoid having to tackle the conundrum created by Giorgos Karadzaferis, the devout and ultranationalist candidate for Athens-Piraeus «super-prefect.» This need would not have arisen had the New Democracy leadership nominated some other candidate for super-prefect. Had it not been for Yiannis Tzannetakos, Karadzaferis would not have made such a strong showing in the election and the problem that has lately plagued the opposition party would not have become as acute as it is now: That is, what real political power has LAOS’s far rightist leader, when he was politically insignificant up until last Sunday? How should New Democracy address a section of its popular base which, small as it may be, could abandon it for LAOS and deprive it of victory at the next parliamentary elections? And how can New Democracy rule the country as a modern European-type liberal party of the middle ground and, at the same time, satisfy the people who now laud Karadzaferis. The problem is a tough one for New Democracy. Archbishop Christodoulos’s remark that he considers Karadzaferis’s voters as «good Christians,» and New Democracy candidate prefect in Thessaloniki Panayiotis Psomiadis’s description of Karadzaferis as a «fighter» are enough to highlight the current confusion within New Democracy. Shortly before last Sunday’s election battle, New Democracy was forced to announce that its positions have nothing to do with those of Karadzaferis. Important though this distancing may have been, it was not enough to close the case. The sooner New Democracy deals with the issue, the better. If it tries to blanket over the issue, it will soon find it blocking its way. And much bigger this time.