Center-right New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Wednesday evening announced that former caretaker prime minister and top high court justice Panagiotis Pikrammenos will be first on the party's state deputies list for the upcoming July 7 general election.
Depending on a party's percentage of the valid vote, it elects a certain number of Parliament deputies. in descending order, from the list of 12 candidates. The first and last spots, first and 12th, are highly symbolic. For a party to elect its 12th candidate on the list, for instance, it would have to garner 100 percent of the vote.
In this case, Mitsotakis on Wednesday announced that director Constantinos Markoulakis will be 12th on the list.
Pikrammenos, who served as prime minister for roughly a month in May-June 2012, was one of a handful of senior office-holders listed in a controversial indictment relayed to the previous Parliament plenum by an anti-corruption prosecutor investigating alleged kickbacks to politicians by Novartis' subsidiary in Greece. Pikrammenos made an emotional address from Parliament's podium flatly denying any wrongoing during his month in office. The political opposition in the country loudly charged that the entire Novartis probe was a conspiracy aimed to tarnish the SYRIZA government's most prominent rivals.
The indictment, along with the slow-moving investigation, fizzled out in the subsequent months, as the prosecutor's office reportedly failed to find any corroborating evidence backing up the allegations, at least up until now.
In an unrelated development, speaking on the live prime-time newscast of Athens-based Star channel, Mitsotakis warned that Europe take measures if Turkey's increases its provocations against the Republic of Cyprus.
He also said he will broach the issue at this week's European People's Party (EPP) meeting, as well as in a one-on-one meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.