first_imgThe third week of the Greek election campaign started with two television debates, which saw the leaders of the two major political parties stake their claims for support from the Greek electorate.Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and PASOK leader George Papandreou faced off on Tuesday night in what proved to be a livelier televised debate than many people expected.It was the second and last election debate before Greek voters go to the polls on October 4 but, in contrast to Monday’s discussion, when the leaders of six parties took part, only Karamanlis and Papandreou were present .The other difference was the presence of only a moderator yesterday rather than the six journalists who took part on Monday. The format allowed the two party leaders to address each other with three-minute or one-minute statements and responses to the other’s position. As on Monday, the economy was the subject on which the two leaders began their discussion.“We have to tackle the public debt now, so tougher measures are not needed in the future,” said Karamanlis. “We have two difficult years ahead of us and we have a tough uphill road ahead of us on one hand and wishful thinking on the other.”Papandreou posed a different type of dilemma to the electorate.“Either we have a government that wastes money on patron-client relationships or a government that will conduct some housekeeping,” said the PASOK leader. “The dilemma is which government will bring the average Greek family to its knees and which government will give hope of prosperity.”In an effort to kill off questions about how PASOK would fund planned rises in public sector wages and pensions, Papandreou said he would collect up to 3 billion euros in uncollected taxes, from tax dodgers, by absorbing more European Union funds and by making use of public property that is sitting idle.The PASOK leader also offered to send Karamanlis PASOK’s party’s platform in response to charges that the opposition had only adopted vague positions.The two leaders then clashed on issues such as education reform, work experience programs and the viability of pension funds before moving on to the issue of corruption.“There is bureaucracy, legal complexity, corruption and a lack of transparency,” said Papandreou. “What has the government done to improve public administration? Let me remind you of the cases that have dominated over the last six years: structured bonds, Cosmote, Vatopedi, Siemens and others.”“We referred any case that appeared to the justice system,” responded Karamanlis. “The biggest scandal in recent years is the case of the 1999 stock market bubble,” added the prime minister, referring to an incident that happened while PASOK was in power.The environment and foreign policy were the final topics of debate. The second televised debate ended with a brief final statement from the two leaders.“I am determined to take the country forward with a state that respects its citizens,’ said George Papandreou, asking for support that would give PASOK a clear parliamentary majority. “The country can progress on the road of development but we need to solve some of our chronic problems, mainly by sorting out public finances,” said Costas Karamanlis, who ended by challenging Papandreou to another debate, although PASOK later appeared to reject the proposal.No clear winner emerged from the first televised debate among the leaders of the six parties in Greece on Monday night, which lasted over three hours.The six political leaders had to answer a total of 36 questions posed by six journalists on six broad themes. One of the highlights of the night came when, in a departure from previous debates, the leaders, who had to answer a total of 36 questions posed by six journalists on six broad themes, were also given the opportunity to ask one another one question.Karamanlis and Papandreou posed their questions to each other. Karamanlis asked Papandreou to be more specific about how he would fund an increase in public spending, which the government claims would cost some 10 billion euros while Papandreou asked about the government’s failure to stamp out corruption. The leader of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS), Giorgos Karatzaferis, was asked repeatedly to answer questions about immigration, while Communist Party leader Aleka Papariga and Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) representative Alexis Tsipras had to respond to queries about economic policy and public demonstrations. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img