Athens.- Ruling New Democracy MP for Serres Achilleas Karamanlis, the uncle of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, on Friday announced that he was giving up his seat in Parliament, which was awarded to him by a special elections court through a controversial decision to include blank ballots in the calculation of election percentages in the Pellas prefecture.
In a letter to Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki, Karamanlis said he had made his decision after the government announced that it intended to overturn the legal precedent set by his case in the future.
“My decision is prompted by the same reasons that I accepted the court’s decision, which as all know I neither provoked nor strove for. I mean my respect for court rulings for the laws of my country,” the MP said.
Noting that this decision had exposed him to “a painful emotional trial of several months due to the savage attacks I received”, as well as creating an unpleasant furore surrounding ND while the case was being tried, the MP questioned the party’s failure to promptly inform him that it disagreed with the court’s decision so that he might have turned down the chance at re-election.
Commenting on the MP’s decision, ND Parliamentary group secretary Apostolos Stavrou called Achilleas Karamanlis a ‘foremost political figure that had served ND for 40 years’ and said that his decision “threw the accusations made against him back into the faces of those making them”.
Karamanlis’ seat will now go to former Serres prefect Anastasios Karypidis.
Former ND leader Miltiadis Evert, meanwhile, said that the MP’s resignation would “sadden many Greeks, in and outside the Serres prefecture”.
According to main opposition PASOK press spokesman Nikos Athanassakis, however, the MP’s “belated” resignation could clear neither himself or the government of what he described as an “electoral coup… through which the electoral result was sullied and a seat was stolen from PASOK and taken by ND and specifically by the prime minister’s uncle,” Athanassakis noted.