Former conservative Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday said that voting for New Democracy is the only way to strengthen Greece's political stability and help the debt-wracked nation pull itself out of recession.

Karamanlis, who has been infamously laconic since losing the 2009 general election, urged center-right voters to back the party of Antonis Samaras on June 17.

“Choosing to abstain or to support one of the smaller center-right parties as protest vote would essentially be a vote for SYRIZA,” Karamanlis said in reference to the leftist anti-bailout party led by Alexis Tsipras.

Most polls show SYRIZA and New Democracy are neck-and-neck for first place in the polls.