New Democracy received a welcome boost on Monday after two former conservatives returned to the fold, increasing the number of ND’s MPs to 127 and the government’s majority in the 300-seat Parliament to 155.
But, in a related development, a suggestion by veteran ND MP and former Parliament Speaker Vyron Polydoras (photo) that ND cooperate with ultra-right Golden Dawn along with other parties as part of a “broader consensus for national defense” prompted an uncomfortable response from ND, with a spokesperson describing Polydoras’s comments as “strange.” Meanwhile Golden Dawn issued a jeering response, noting that it “spits on all corrupt pseudo-politicians” and predicting that the next government would be a coalition between ND and leftist opposition SYRIZA.
Earlier, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras informed Parliament Speaker Vangelis Meimarakis that former Tourism Minister Costas Markopoulos and ex-ND MP Theodoros Soldatos were returning to the party. This followed an appeal by Samaras for the center-right to rally around ND. Markopoulos quit ND last year to join the Independent Greeks. Soldatos was ousted in November after failing to vote for the 2013 budget.