No TV debate between party leaders ahead of elections

No TV debate between party leaders ahead of elections

There will be no debate between Greece’s political leaders ahead of the July 7 national election after party representatives failed to reach consensus on a format or a date, it was announced Monday.

The debate had been intended to include Prime Minister and SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Communist Party (KKE) leader Dimitris Koutsoumbas, center-left Movement for Change (KINAL) leader Fofi Gennimata and Vasilis Leventis of the Union of Centrists.

ND wanted all the parties represented in Parliament on the panel, whereas Tsipras reportedly caused confusion, saying at first that he agreed but then changing course, saying he wanted a debate with the leaders going head-to-head.

Tsipras had indicated his pessimism over the possibility of an agreement on a debate last week in Brussels, when he said it would be a presentation of “parallel monologues.”

Discussion over the debate began last week on the original premise that it would take place on July 1. However, talks broke down Monday with each side engaging in a blame game.

ND blamed the government, saying that even though all the parties had agreed the debate should take place on July 1, Tsipras backed down, citing the European Union summit on June 30. As a result, two other dates were proposed to accommodate him.

Then, ND said, Tsipras suddenly backed down and said he would be available to attend on July 1 as long as it took place at 10 p.m. But the other parties said they could not fit it in. For his part, Tsipras accused KINAL and KKE of looking for an excuse not to take part in the debate.

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