Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Antonis Samaras took over last week as the leader of New Democracy from Costas Karamanlis after scoring a clear victory in the election two Sundays ago.His victory in the first round is seen as giving him a clear mandate to begin reshaping the conservative party.Samaras attracted 50.31 percent of the vote, compared to 39.34 for his main rival Dora Bakoyannis and 10.34 for Thessaloniki Prefect Panayiotis Psomiadis.Many had expected that none of the candidates would get the 50 percent needed to prevent a second round. The result was a huge blow for ex-Foreign Minister Bakoyannis, who pledged that she would back the new party president, despite significant disagreements during the six-week campaign.Samaras’s victory was made even more significant by the unexpectedly high turnout. Almost 750,000 ND members cast their ballots, despite a series of technical problems. In his brief victory speech, Samaras stressed that he wanted to maintain party unity following a campaign that became fractious at times. He promised to “use a sponge” to wipe clean the differences of the past and to be open to ideas from other conservatives.Samaras met with his defeated rival Dora Bakoyannis in an attempt to ensure that his resounding victory did not have a negative impact on the party’s unity.The pair held talks lasting about 40 minutes at ND’s headquarters in what was more a show of unity than a discussion aimed at reaching any specific conclusion.“We have had an initial, political discussion about New Democracy’s political positions and our common goal, which is a modern, large center-right party, for which we will all work together,” said Bakoyannis upon leaving the meeting.The former foreign minister said that the pair had not discussed any possible position for Bakoyannis within Samaras’s setup.“No proposal was made,” said Bakoyannis. “I have been a foot soldier for this party for many years and I will continue to be one.”She assured reporters the pair would continue to discuss matters in the future. “We are in the same party, after all,” said Bakoyannis.Samaras also made a point of contacting Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis, former Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis and ex-Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis, who had all supported Bakoyannis.He also spoke with Dimitris Avramopoulos, who dropped out of the leadership race to back Samaras’s bid for the party presidency.