Athens mayoral race hots up

The first barbs in the race to be the next mayor of Athens were exchanged yesterday as PASOK-backed hopeful Giorgos Kaminis squared up against incumbent Nikitas Kaklamanis, accusing him of using the municipal radio station, Athina 984, to ensure the acquiescence of some journalists. With six weeks to go until polling day, the competition for the City of Athens heated up when Kaminis, a newcomer to the political scene, claimed Kaklamanis was using Athina 984 in an unconstitutional manner, by employing some journalists on generous wages in order to to keep them on his side. «At 984 there are regular journalists who have just that job and there are other big-name journalists who have two or three jobs and pick up a large salary,» Kaminis told Alter TV. «Athina 984 has moved away from its original mission; it is not a municipal radio station anymore,» added the former Greek Ombudsman. «It is trying to compete with commercial radio stations but with little success.» He said the combination of these two factors led to a third, «even more serious» problem: «The municipality accepts this situation because it wants to secure the silence of some journalists. This is a constitutional issue.» Kaklamanis dismissed Kaminis’s attack, saying it revealed how little his rival knew about the workings of City Hall. The clash came as Kaklamanis presented the municipal council candidates on his ticket. Among them are talent-show panelist and music agent Ilias Psinakis and retired soccer player Akis Zikos. On Monday night, Mega TV made public an opinion poll indicating support for Kaklamanis is running at 36 percent and at 27 percent for Kaminis. If neither candidate obtains more than 50 percent of the vote, it will go to a second round. The GPO poll suggested that, in this case, 40.1 percent of voters would support Kaklamanis and 34 percent Kaminis, with the rest undecided.

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