June 15, 2012
Greece’s centre-right New Democracy party appears to be in the lead for this weekend’s general election, say opinion polls, yet moves are afoot to prevent its leader from becoming prime minister, say people with knowledge of such plans.
Antonis Samaras, the New Democracy’s leader, is seen as a divisive politician not suited to leading a coalition government that must stick together and make hard choices to stop Greece crashing out of the euro, the same people said.
In conversations with the Financial Times on the eve of the election, leading business people dominant in their sectors and with interests in the broader region voiced fears that, despite his commitment to euro membership, Mr Samaras lacks the qualities needed to restore Greece’s credibility with international lenders, re-invigorate reforms and steer the country in the direction of recovery.
One described Mr Samaras as a “street-fighter politician” focused on combating the left, with little understanding of the extent of restructuring the Greek economy needs to regain competitiveness.