Education will be the first political battleground of 2009, after Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday asked for a debate on the state of schooling in Greece to be organized in Parliament. Karamanlis wrote to Parliament Speaker Dimitris Sioufas yesterday to ask for time to be set aside this month for the debate. «The issue of education in all its aspects and at all its levels, especially with respect to the tertiary sector, is a paramount issue that needs to be discussed so that all the parties can take up their positions,» he said. Following the repeated protests in December after the shooting of Alexis Grigoropoulos, students have already planned the first public rally of 2009 to take place on Friday and Karamanlis knows education will again be a key issue. Education has been an area where the government has clashed with PASOK and the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) in particular and, as suggested by the prime minister’s letter, Karamanlis feels that he can expose the weaknesses in their arguments in a parliamentary debate.