A few days after ousting 21 MPs from New Democracy for voting against Greece’s new bailout, Antonis Samaras on Friday welcomed to his party two high profile members of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), who had been ejected from the right-wing group for approving the terms of the loan deal.
Transport Minister Makis Voridis and former deputy Merchant Marine Minister Adonis Georgiadis arrived at ND’s headquarters Friday morning to announce that they were giving up their seats in Parliament in order to join the conservatives.
The right-wing, nationalist background of Voridis and Georgiadis are seen as strengthening ND’s credentials with hardline conservative voters but sources said the party will look to bring in more moderate figures as well in a bid to appeal to center-ground voters. This would also give New Democracy, which is leading in opinion polls, the ability to show that it represents a broad range of interests.
Samaras still faces a threat from the MPs who were ousted from the party as they may choose to form their own grouping and attempt to attract ND members that are skeptical about the new loan agreement.
“The next elections will decide if Greece will remain a member of the EU and the eurozone,” said Georgiadis. “Greece needs strong leadership that will give people hope again. The only organized party is ND democracy, led by Antonis Samaras, which embodies the hope that Greece will not become Syria.”
“At this time, when things are extremely crucial, we need to guarantee that there is a trustworthy, big, patriotic liberal party which will not only be able to have the trust of our lenders but also to guarantee to citizens that growth will come,” he said. “Antonis Samaras took tough decisions and I felt I should stand by him.”