New Democracy attempted to sever all links with former Transport and Culture Minister Michalis Liapis on Thursday by officially ousting him from the conservative party two days after he was caught driving a car with fake license plates and no insurance and at the same time that the 62-year-old failed to appear in court, asking for a postponement of his trial because he was flying to Kuala Lumpur.
“New Democracy’s central ethics committee has decided to strike Michalis Liapis off our records for unethical behavior,” the party said in a statement.
There was some dissatisfaction in the conservative ranks that the decision to cut ties with Liapis took some 48 hours following his arrest, when he was also found to be driving without a permit or ID card. It seemed that Liapis might escape the ignominy of being ousted from the party that was founded by his uncle, Constantine Karamanlis. Sources said that senior ND officials initially thought that the condemnation of Liapis’s actions would be enough. His cousin and former Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was informed of the decision to oust the ex-minister before the announcement was made on Thursday.
Liapis failed to appear in court on Thursday to respond to charges of false certification and forgery. His lawyer asked for an extension until December 30 so the ex-minister could present insurance papers for the vehicle. It later emerged Liapis was on a flight to Doha, with Kuala Lumpur as his final destination.