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Greek liberal economic reformer elected main opposition party leader

Greek liberal economic reformer Kyriakos Mitsotakis, a former Administrative Minister, who represents the new generation of Greece's conservatives, was elected new leader of the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party on Sunday.

Mitsotakis, 47, scion of a political dynasty, won the party's leadership contest gathering about 51 percent with 70 percent of votes counted, the party's electoral committee announced.

Veteran Vangelis Meimarakis who had served as interim party chief from July to November, 2015, after the resignation of former premier and party leader Antonis Samaras following the referendum on the country's new bailout agreement, received about 49 percent of votes.

The new leader of the ND, who has pledged to turn page and renew the party with hard work and unity, received congratulatory phone calls from Meimarakis and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras shortly before midnight.

In his first statement to media after the victory he promised to offer Greeks "a credible alternative solution."

Mitsotakis, the son of former prime minister and former ND party chief Konstantinos Mitsotakis, had entered the race for the leadership as an outsider, political analysts in Athens noted.

He had finished second in the Dec. 20 first ballot with 28.5 percent of votes after Meimarakis who had won 39.8 percent.

However, in the second round Mitsotakis had the support of the two other representatives of the younger generation of the conservatives who had participated in the first elections.

About 350,000 party supporters nationwide cast their ballots on Sunday to elect ND's new leader.

Media commentators in Athens noted that Meimarakis had struck a more conciliatory tone towards the Left-led government, leaving room for scenarios of a possible grand coalition between the now ruling Radical Left SYRIZA party and the conservatives, if deemed necessary.

Mitsotakis, a Harvard educated economist, had presented himself as the anti-Tsipras who strongly rejects "populism". He had underlined that he will vote against the government's critical bills, such as the upcoming pension reform, ruling out any prospect of an alliance with SYRIZA.

[Source: Xinhua, Athens, 10Jan16]

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small logoThis document has been published on 12Jan16 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.