Preparations for a runoff vote for the ND leadership between E. Meimarakis and K. Mitsotakis

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Preparations for a runoff vote for the New Democracy leadership between Evangelos Meimarakis and Kyriakos Mitsotakis were under way on Monday after the two candidates came out on top in Sunday’s ballot.

Meimarakis leads by slightly over 11 pct over fellow candidate Kyriakos Mitsotakis, according to the first official election results released by the party on Monday evening.

With 84 pct of the votes counted in 1,062 out of 1,251 poll stations in total, Meimarakis has gained 39.51 pct, Mitsotakis is second with 28.27 pct, Apostolos Tzitzikostas received 21.15 pct and Adonis Georgiadis has 11.07 pct.

The final result on 100 pct of the votes will be announced on Tuesday, ND said.

Meimarakis and Mitsotakis will be heading to run-off elections on January 10.

Georgiadis immediately declared his support for his former cabinet colleague Mitsotakis. “I will support his candidacy for three reasons,” said Georgiadis, a former health minister.

“Firstly, because I feel the time for renewal has come. Secondly, because it is important for two people with different ideologies to cooperate and help the entire party express itself. And, thirdly, because Kyriakos and I have already worked together perfectly and implemented a series of successful reforms.”

Having upset the opinion polls on who would make it into the runoff vote, which is due to be held on January 10, Mitsotakis stressed that his candidacy rather than that of older party veteran Meimarakis is the one that offers the conservatives hope for the future.

“In the first round, the message from 60 percent or more of new and old members was clear,” said the former minister in reference to those who did not vote for Meimarakis. “Our duty is to put their mandate into practice. The wave of creative renewal will grow and be victorious on January 10.”

Mitsotakis, however, faces a challenge in overcoming Meimarakis, who may not need to attract more votes to win next month if fewer people vote. Some 400,000 cast ballots on Sunday, which was far more than expected. Tzitzikostas is not expected to publicly support either candidate but will probably indirectly back Mitsotakis.