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The debate on the debate heated political passions to boiling point

24 April 2012 / 14:04:24  GRReporter
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The election campaign in Greece is running with acute attacks and disputes. Now, the issue on the agenda of the dispute between the two major parties is whether a televised debate between their leaders will be held. The question has provoked a "war" of announcements for the press, in which party "arrows" are flying with remarkable speed.

PASOK insists that two televised debates should be held - between Evangelos Venizelos and Antonis Samaras and between the leaders of all parties. The party headquarters announced that they made the proposal 15 days ago but they have not yet received a reply from the "blue".

"Time goes by. Let New Democracy finally decide and respond. Let it do at least today what it had to do some time ago," said the party representative Fofi Genimata. She added that she had personally sent a letter of request to the New Democracy representative Yiannis Mihelakis last Saturday.

PASOK had already begun to focus its attacks on this issue on Sunday. In one of his speeches in the country on Sunday, Evangelos Venizelos accused his main political opponent of avoiding responding to the invitation and to the challenge to a televised debate between the two of them, giving them both a wide berth.

New Democracy responded on Monday evening when Yiannis Mihelakis requested the inter-party committee to meet and discuss new ways of conducting televised debates. Antonis Samaras' associate said the party request is the debate "to not be confined within political monologues." He accused the leader of PASOK in an attempt "to distract the people’s attention by insisting on the boring monologues ("debates") from the past to be held once again although political parties, journalists and citizens have already expressed their dissatisfaction with them."

His message to the press states, "6 May is the fear of Evangelos Venizelos. The date 7 May causes panic in him." Yiannis Mihelakis said tartly that he understands the desire of the PASOK leader to appear on television alongside Antonis Samaras, adding that the aim of New Democracy is to conduct a substantive dialogue and inform the citizens on "issues that really interest them."

PASOK responded angrily. "With many words and even more arrogance, New Democracy refused to participate in the dialogue because they are afraid of it. Easy and naive demagoguery collapse in a collision."

Responding to the response, Yiannis Mihelakis urged the people from PASOK "to put aside the lion’s roar" and say whether they agree the issue of televised debates to be discussed by "the inner-party committee aboveboard and on an equal base."
 
In another message, however, he attacked the leader of PASOK again: "The same day two years ago, George Papandreou announced from Kastelorizo that the country would turn to the International Monetary Fund and launched a new Odyssey for the Greeks. At the same time, Mr. Venizelos, as a minister and a lawyer, drew up the memorandum. Today, although he is the main compiler, supervisor and executor of the memorandum, he tries to distance himself from the offence, which has led the country to a catastrophe, as recognized by his supporters too. But Mr. Papaconstantinou "betrayed" him and therefore, the extent of his liability does not allow him to hide."

This attack was made in response to Evangelos Venizelos’ recent statement that he was against asking the International Monetary Fund for assistance. Furthermore, he described the first memorandum as incomplete, adding that it was signed, because Greece needed it.

Along with the debate about the debate on state television, which is always broadcast by all major private television stations, it became clear that Mega TV has proposed that PASOK and New Democracy organize a debate between the two leaders. PASOK immediately answered positively.

SYRIZA and the Democratic Left support a televised debate with the participation of all political leaders. They accused PASOK and New Democracy of trying to limit the debate to only between them.

At the same time, the violent dispute between New Democracy and Independent Greeks, which aims at regaining the votes of discontented "blue" voters, is going on. The acute confrontation began when the participant in the military junta George Georgalas set up a claim against Panos Kamenos for 14 thousand for a book about terrorism and a study on the crisis. According to him, he wrote them on behalf of the leader of Independent Greeks when he was his public relations adviser. Panos Kamenos replied through his profile in the social network. He said he has filed a libel action and commented, "They will soon say that I took part in the coup when I was two years old."

A little later, the New Democracy spokesman defined Panos Kamenos as extremely dangerous for Greece on the occasion of his statement that under the new bailout agreement, the lenders to Greece will be able to seize ships under the Greek flag.
 
According to Yiannis Mihelakis, this is an expression of populism, naiveté, irresponsibility, unawareness and conspiratorial fantasy. He accused Panos Kamenos of "committing an offence against Greece."

"I do not know if he is seeking to frighten Greek and foreign ships and force them to leave the port registry or if he is trying to deceive the Greeks or if he is willing to do both," he said in his message.

Tags: PoliticsTelevised debatesPASOKNew democracyIndependent GreeksConfrontation
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