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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-11-07

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] ND extraordinary conference begins

  • [01] ND extraordinary conference begins

    Main opposition New Democracy launched the process of electing its new leader with the start of an Extraordinary ND Conference at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Faliro early on Saturday.

    Appeals for unity dominated the opening speeches to the delegates, including that by outgoing president and former premier Costas Karamanlis, and emphasised the importance of the decisions that had to be made.

    The conference will not elected a new leader directly but is called to vote for a change to the party's charter so that the new leader can be elected by the entire party membership and not just a small body of electoral representatives. The proposed changes were decided on by a unanimous vote of ND's Central Committee based on the recommendations of the organisational committee for the conference.

    Addressing the gathering, Karamanlis noted that this would be his last speech as party president after 13 years at the helm of ND and appealed to all sides to keep the discussion on a political level and "avoid personal bickering".

    "The new president will have the backing and support of all, will be the president of all and the next prime minister of the country," he underlined.

    He underlined that the conference would launch the process for electing a leader by the party's grass roots - the membership and those that wished to become members up until the day of the election - and that this development was an opening to society, participation, solidarity and a new prospect.

    "This development is a major conquest for democracy, it boosts two-way communication and builds a new collecitve force and a collective momentum. Success is the obligation of all," he stressed.

    Even more important, however, were fundamental issues concerning the party's behaviour, political arguments, unity and cooperation in acheiving the common goals, Karamanlis underlined.

    There followed addresses by the candidates for the party's leadership, starting with that of former foreign minister and one-time Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis, followed by Antonis Samaras, Panagiotis Psomiadis and former candidate Dimitris Avramopoulos, who has now backed out of the race.

    The conference was also addressed early on by the president of the conference organising committee Dimitris Sioufas and ND Central Committee Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis, who stressed the need to mobilise the party grass roots to participate in the election if the proposed changes were approved.

    "The larger the number of those that come to vote, the greater the party's strength will be," he underlined.

    Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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