Mayoral candidates for Athens to face off in television debate

Incumbent Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis (photo) will be facing off with his challenger for the capital’s municipal authority ahead of Sunday’s runoff for the first time in a televised debate on Wednesday.

Kaminis, an independent candidate backed by coalition partner PASOK and Democratic Left (DIMAR), took 21.06 percent of the vote in Sunday’s first round of local elections, just slightly ahead of opposition SYRIZA’s candidate, newcomer Sakellaridis, who earned 20 percent.

Fifty percent of Athenians did not turn out to vote, though there is expected to be greater participation in the runoff, which coincides with elections for European Parliament.

Meanwhile, incumbent Attica Governor Yiannis Sgouros, who is also backed by PASOK and DIMAR, and who got 22.11 percent of last Sunday’s vote, refused an invitation to appear in a televised debate with SYRIZA’s contender Rena Dourou, who beat him at the first round with 23.80 percent.

In an announcement on Tuesday Sgouros said that he would not appear with Dourou unless she retracted statements suggesting that he is serving vested interests. Dourou responded by saying that “the term ‘intertwined interests’ refers to political choices and the term corruption refers to punishable acts.”

In the wake of last Sunday’s election, New Democracy threw its weight behind Kaminis and Sgouros.

The Kaminis-Sakellaridis debate will be broadcast on Antenna TV.

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