With only three days left to formally submit their candidacy for the party leadership, the tension within New Democracy is escalating. So far only three formally announced their candidacy – Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Apostolos Tzitzikostas and Adonis Georgiadis – however more are expected to make their announcements shortly. New Democracy MP Giorgos Koumoutsakos has commented that the party is facing perhaps its greatest crisis, as many fear the prospect of a party split.
A lot will depend on whether provisional party president Evangelos Meimarakis manages to receive the backing of the Karamanlis supporters within the party, or whether there are ‘defections’ to Mr. Tzitzikostas’ camp. Mr. Meimarakis has had repeated contacts with former PM Kostas Karamanlis and may announce his candidacy within the day.
There is also the possibility that the announcement will come on Friday, provided he receives over 250 nominations (out of the central committee’s 521 members), as a demonstration of power. Should Mr. Meimarakis ultimately chose to not run for the party leadership, then the way will be paved for veteran MPs Dora Bakoyanni and Nikos Dendias to run. Both have commented that they intend to support Mr. Meimarakis, but have also expressed their desire to lead the party.
So far though Mr. Tzitzikostas has been criticized the most, primarily since if elected he will not have the right to represent New Democracy in Parliament until 2019, as he is currently the elected District Governor of Central Macedonia. Despite this though, Mr. Tzitzikostas relies on his popularity amongst New Democracy voters.
Mr. Georgiadis – who only joined New Democracy 33 months ago, after abandoning LAOS along with Makis Voridis – is aiming for a more conservative, right-wing political outlook and has the backing of the Samaras supporters. Nevertheless, with Vasilis Kikilias considering running for party leadership, Georgiadis may face greater difficulties in his campaign.