The much-anticipated televised debate between New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras and SYRIZA chief Alexis Tsipras is unlikely to happen as talks on the details of the discussion have broken down.
New Democracy issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon blaming the leftists for the collapse in the negotiations. The conservatives accused SYRIZA of wavering over some details of the debate, such as the moderator.
“It is now clear that SYRIZA does not want any debate to take place,” said ND spokesman Yiannis Michelakis in a statement.
Michelakis claimed that all the parameters of the debate, including the moderator, had been agreed but SYRIZA then had second thoughts. Presenter Nikos Chatzinikolaou had been lined up to moderate the debate, according to ND.
“As soon as representatives of ND and SYRIZA shook hands on the TV debate between the two leaders, SYRIZA began messing everything up: journalists’ names, the process, even the inclusion of other parties, with the aim of blowing everything sky high,” said Michelakis.
SYRIZA had proposed two debates: one between Samaras and Tsipras along the lines of the French presidential debate and the other between the leaders of all the parties that entered Parliament, apart from Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn).
Michelakis accused Tsipras of being “anxious” about having to defend his positions in a TV debate on a range of issues from SYRIZA’s opposition to the EU-IMF bailout to foreign policy.
ND would expose “SYRIZA’s dangerous policies for the euro, jobs, security and Greeks’ dignity,” said Michelakis.