Attempts to hold election debate hit obstacles

Attempts to hold election debate hit obstacles

Representatives of all the political parties are due to meet again Friday to try to agree on a date for a televised debate between their leaders, although it looks likely that just the heads of SYRIZA and New Democracy will go face to face in front of a national audience.

Thursday’s meeting failed to result in agreement as the parties could not agree on a date for the debate. Some of the smaller parties asked for the discussion to take place on Monday, September 14, even though this date had been set aside for debate just between SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras and New Democracy’s Evangelos Meimarakis.

Holding a debate between all the party leaders on September 14 would mean pushing the head-to-head between Tsipras and Meimarakis closer to the September 20 elections. Sources said that SYRIZA’s representatives were against this idea as the debate would then clash with the party’s main rallies, which are also televised.

Independent Greeks offered September 9 as an alternative, even though party leader Panos Kammenos would have to cancel his planned appearance at the Thessaloniki International Fair on that date.

There is a sense, however, that it will prove too difficult to organize a cross-party debate and that it is more likely that there will be just one, between Tsipras and Meimarakis.

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