Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Northern Epirotes support Samaras

ND leadership race: Avramopoulos backs Samaras

With the campaigning in main opposition New Democracy (ND) in full swing in the run-up to the November 29 election for a new party leader, former health minister and past Athens mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, who recently pulled out of the race for the party leadership, on Tuesday announced that he was putting his backing behind former culture minister Antonis Samaras, one of the three remaining candidates for the ND presidency. The other two candidates are former foreign minister and one-time Athens mayor Dora Bakoyannis, and current Thessaloniki prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis.

Avramopoulos announced his decision in a joint appearance with Samaras.

"I stand at his side and back his candidacy," Avramopoulos said, adding that "the selection of Antonis (Samaras) leads to greater cohesion, secures the unity, of a party of institutions and principles, of an open party with a democratic operation".

Avramopoulos said that some cadres had "greatly and deeply hurt" the party's voters "and we need to bring them back", and criticised past attitudes, "personal mechanisms" and "behind-the-scenes operations" that cost the party dearly.

He said his decision "has nothing to do with personal sentiments and bargaining".

"ND is one, and united. The needs of the times demand policies that do not stand on individuals. They require unanimity, solidarity and common work," he added.

Avramopoulos further said that his proposal for the election of the party leader by the ND grass roots had been "a first step for an open democratic party without personal mechanisms", adding his belief that "we need to select a politician with political terms, and I agree with Antonis Samaras that we must convince the voters who left to return with our attitude and our work".

Referring to the center field of the political spectrum, Avramopoulos explained that this was not a geographical concept but is determined with political characteristics.

Samaras, in turn, warmly welcomed Avramopoulos' decision, adding that, at the ND extraordinary congress held last weekend, which opened the vote for the party leader to the entire body of the ND registered members, "we proved that our unity is not in danger, and we will turn this unity into a hope for victory".

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