October polls must get press coverage

In October, less than four months from now, we are due to have local government elections. And no one seems even slightly interested, even though some campaigning has started in certain municipalities though putting up campaign posters has been banned during the course of the official pre-election period. But the average citizen is paying no attention whatsoever. The fact is that Greeks have really had enough of politicians, both in central and local government. Interest is likely to peak over the last few weeks (the parties’ central committees will make sure of this) but we should not expect the passion and excitement of previous polls. On the contrary, citizens will be asking for concrete proposals and will not simply accept at face value the candidates put forward by different political parties. And the media can help in this area by providing consistent and reliable coverage in the buildup and for the duration of the elections. Specifically, citizens of the three largest municipalities (Athens, Piraeus and Thessaloniki) should be given the opportunity to watch at least a couple of debates between candidates on television so that they can see who is who, hear each candidate’s stance and rate his potential. The last local government elections in 2002 virtually slipped by without comment as the PASOK government of the time had not been keen to promote them as its defeat was all but certain. But Costas Karamanlis’s New Democracy government has no reason to worry. It is leading in all popularity polls. So it should make it clear to state television channels that this year’s polls should receive proper, serious coverage.

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