Leaders warm up for debate

Two days ahead of a key televised debate between the foremost candidates to govern Greece after the March 7 elections, opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday presented what he called a charter for everyday life in the Greater Athens area. PASOK chairman George Papandreou spoke to female PASOK supporters in a sports stadium in the Athens district of Galatsi, promising to create a «national council for equality» that would function as a consultative body to the PM. Papandreou also said that, should he win the elections, he would draw up «a contract for cooperation and ethics» with the news media, to get them to stop «displaying women as objects of exploitation.» In Piraeus, Karamanlis told supporters he had a 25-point plan to improve living conditions in Athens and the port that focused on better transport, more parking spaces, a «clean and friendly» environment, better security, more free time for residents and «modern services for all citizens.» He also accused PASOK of inactivity over the past 11 years. «They did so little while they had so much money available,» he said. Meanwhile, the Athens city council and former Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos – who is running for election in the capital with ND – denied a report in yesterday’s Eleftherotypia daily that accused Avramopoulos of having mismanaged the city’s finances. A statement from the city council said that «despite the mismanagement and the mistakes, no responsibility can be attached to the municipality’s political leadership.» «The inevitable conclusion is that the matter was stirred up again today for purely electoral purposes,» it added. The former mayor described the report as «an electoral trick.»