Greek parties announcing election candidates amid friction

Greece’s main political parties on Friday began unveiling their candidate lists for the January 25 elections, with some of the nominations causing friction between governing coalition partners New Democracy and PASOK as well within the ranks of leftist opposition SYRIZA.

PASOK chief Evangelos Venizelos sent Prime Minister Antonis Samaras a tersely-worded missive on Thursday following the announcement by socialist Deputy Culture Minister Angela Gerekou that she will running on the conservative ticket, accusing him of taking part in “an immoral and crude political initiative.”

On Friday, former German MEP Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, named by Foreign Minister Venizelos in November as the Greek Ambassador-at-Large, also said that he will be running with the conservatives.

Just a few hours ahead of the official unveiling of the lists on Friday, sources told Kathimerini that New Democracy will be nominating Theodoros Fortsakis, the outspoken new rector of the University of Athens who has come under attack from SYRIZA, for Minister of State.

Earlier in the day, ND cadre Aris Spiliotopoulos said he won’t be on the party ticket after giving up his ministerial seat to run in May’s local elections.

Kathimerini also learned that of the 410 candidates New Democracy plans to put forward, 215 will be running for the first time as part of the conservative party’s bid to put forward nominees who are not associated with the tough austerity measures Greece has had to implement as part of its international bailout agreement.

In SYRIZA, meanwhile, the announcement that a former MP for right-wing Independent Greeks, Rachil Makri, would be running as the leftist party’s candidate for Kozani in northern Greece, met with the disapproval of several cadres