Follow us

Seven political leaders fight it out on first TV debate since 2009

Seven political leaders fight it out on TV debate

Alexis Tsipras, Evangelos Meimarakis, Panagiotis Lafazanis, Stavros Theodorakis, Panos Kammenos, Dimitris Koutsoumbas and Fofi Gennimata take part in the TV debate.

Theo Ioannou

00.11. Debate concluded after three hours. Next debate between Tsipras and Meimarakis is on September 14.

00.10. Tsipras defends his government's policies and asks for vote because there are many more battles to win. He repeats his party's slogan to "get rid of the old and embrace the good".

00.09. Meimarakis: I plead with the people to think and not vote in anger, because that way they brought SYRIZA's catastrophic policies to power. I am a man working out there, I know how to deal with issues.

00.08. Lafazanis: The real issue is with, or against the memorandum policies. There is an alternative way for the country, the bailout is the end of democracy.

00.06. Theodorakis: After the failed slogan "left for the first time", we say "serious for the first time. Education, labor, no corruption.

00.04. Koutsoumbas makes a plea against all government parties, especially SYRIZA, and for the Communists and to all former party voters. He ensures a government will be in place after the elections, so people have no need not to vote for the Communists.

00.02. Kammenos makes a plea for his party born by the memorandum policies, then touches a plethora of subjects establishing his party's relevance - in his opinion.

23.58. Gennimata: Both SYRIZA and New Democracy have failed to get rid of the austerity deals, let's at least get rid of populism. We ask for a steady, 4-year government, which PASOK, should it get adequate votes, will be a catalyst for.

23.56. Gennimata makes a plea for the formation of a stable coalition government to ensure the future of the country. She asks all leaders to say they will form a government without preconditions. She asks for the voting law to change in order to stop offering 50 extra seats to the first party in the elections.

23.54. Endless bickering between Kammenos and Meimarakis in the background. Rules out the window, completely. Gennimata literally begging to start speaking as it is her turn.

23.53. Kammenos insists that Meimarakis is liable and there has been no "not guilty" vote for him. He utters accusations against Meimarakis and asks all leaders to agree on changing the law protecting government ministers from liabilities.

23.52. Koutsoumbas on message: You have tried all parties in government and they have brought austerity and misery. Try us instead. He offers examples of a different, nationalized economy.

23.51. Theodorakis accuses PASOK and new Democracy of being literally bankrupt parties having borrowed hundreds of thousands in order to make promises and offer jobs to their respective constituencies.

23.49. Lafazanis says that his party was honest by insisting on SYRIZA's original position against the bailout.

23.47. Meimarakis insists that the sum is accurate because when the banks were closed there was an extra 25 billion debt. He also accuses Kammenos of lying about his accusations that Meimarakis is liable due to military kickbacks.

23.44. Tsipras refutes Meimarakis' accusation of endebting the country by 90 billion euros. He claims the sum is grossly inaccurate and focuses on the debt relief, which has gone through via his initiatives.

23.40. Tsipras insists that there must come an end to media anarchy and TV networks must pay taxes they owe. He says his party has payed the price by having the networks turn against him. Tsipras is being ironic to MEGA TV's Olga Tremi, making her demand a response. Moderator Charitos steps in and stops a potential exchange between Tremi and Tsipras. Lively exchange, rules out the window.

23.37. Meimarakis insists that a coalition government is the only way forward and accuses Tsipras that if his party comes first there will be new elections.

23.35. Lafazanis jokes about stealing 23 million euros from the mint. He insists that an anti-austerity front is the only way out of the country's troubles.

23.32. Theodorakis defends his position to support the deal although Tsipras was too late. He rejects the notion that Tsipras is "embedded" with vested interests, but accuses him of smearing The River accusing it for populist policies.

23.28. Koutsoumbas defends Manolis Glezos' legacy, although he is running with the Popular Unity party. He accuses Tsipras of knowingly signiing the bailout deal. He accuses Lafazanis of being an ally to Tsipras' policies in the EU until his split.

23.26. Kammenos claims that being a party of the center-right, his party made the reconciliation with the left happen, through his partnership with Tsipras. He rules out a potential coalition with PASOK and The River party.

23.23. Gennimata defends her initiative to attempt a major left-wing coalition, and accuses Tsipras of being unable to be a part of such a project, even as a stowaway.

23.21. Gennimata defends PASOK's historic choices of Greece being a part of Europe. She claims that her initiatives in the EU helped the final outcome of the negotiations for the third bailout. Asked whether former PM George Papandreou could become Foreign minister due to his credentials, Gennimata says it's not her place to talk about a former PM.

23.15. Kammenos defends raises in military pay. He insists on his accusations against Meimarakis about his alleged involvement in military kickbacks while the latter was minister of Defense. He says that to compensate for the military personnel loss of salary, the state should offer them homes secured by the military's assets.

23.12. Koutsoumbas defends the Communist party's position of leaving NATO, claiming nothing good has come out of the country's membership. He adds that the jihadi horror must be dealt with, but not by those who helped them become so dangerous in the past (i.e. Americans). He says Russia is now a capitalist country , nothing to do with the Soviet Union. Koutsoumbas defies the debate rule and turns to Lafazanis, accusing him of being a Russia-lover.

23.09. Theodorakis says his party is for asking for the occupational German loan, but is against the mentality of escaping in the past every time there is a problem with the country's financing. He adds that Greece should consider all European people as its allies.

23.05. Lafazanis accuses the country's EU lenders of extortion and says he believes the country should go after deals with other countries. He defends his ministry's deal with the Russians over a gas pipe through Greece. He refuses to answer whether the deal secured money from the deal or not, but adds that it could potentially bring money to the Greek state. Finally, he points out that his party disagreed with the debate rules and was asking for a more lively discussion.

23.01. Meimarakis slams Tsipras for his policies in immigration, foreign policy and the handling of the Greek debt, accusing him of creating a 90 billion euro debt.

22.59. Tsipras defends his government's choice of approaching Russia and alienating the EU partners. He says his policy was to go after energy deals with Russia and third world countries. He adds that his government's foreign policy has many achievements to show for itself.

22.53. Tsipras says it's hypocritical for the opposition parties to accuse his 7-month government on immigration when New Democracy did nothing but arrest some immigrants in downtown Athens. He defends his EU initiatives for hosting refugees in Greece and the EU. He exclaims "enough is enough" asked on why he didn't secure funding for the refugee crisis, claiming he had little time and still did more for the issue than New Democracy in 2.5 years.

22.50. Meimarakis says the refugee crisis is not a new one - it's been around for ages. He accuses Tsipras for saying there are no sea borders. There are sea borders and they have to be secured.

22.46. Lafazanis accuses the "dirty European establishment" and capitalism for the "refugee disgrace". He says it's a disgrace that there is no Syrian embassy in Athens. He adds that a lot of money should be poured to resolve the issue. He avoids the question whether migrants should be granted Greek citizenship. He adds that there is a wave of Greek refugees leaving because of the austerity.

22.43. Theodorakis recounts his journalistic past to show he knows the tragic state of the islands on account of the huge number of refugees. He chastises the previous government for doing next to nothing to resolve the issue. He asks for EU initiatives and for Greece to cooperate with Turkey to stop the wave of refugees.Europe has to do something to salvage its hitory and culture and The River will fight in Europe for that.

22.41. Koutsoumbas says the imperative in the refugee crisis is for the refugees to reach the EU countries they set out to go to. It's the capitalism's fault (naturally). He dismisses the idea of using refugees for low-paying jobs, on account of the huge unemployment.

22.36. Kammenos defends the previous government's immigration policies, but clears up that he wanted to veto the SYRIZA bill for migrant citizenship, which he voted down. He defends his statement that if the EU abandons Greece, the EU will be filled by jihadis through Greece.

22.34. Gennimata says the only way out of the refugee crisis in the country is by achieving an agreement with the EU. She accuses the previous government of doing nothing about the issue. She asks for a radical shift in EU immigration policy and more funds for Greece to deal with the crisis.

22.30. Gennimata claims that the National Health System and Greek pharmaceutical companies have to be saved anyway possible. She avoids the question about the bailout agreement establishing new pharmacies by private individuals.

22.27. Kammenos highlights some of his party's differences with partner SYRIZA, including their policies against pilot schools. He adds that the raise in VAT for private schools is unacceptable and other measures should be found to de-establish it.

22.24. Koutsoumbas is against the raise in VAT for private education, because it will hurt the working families, although his party traditionally is against private education. He accuses SYRIZA and Popular Unity for advocating the raise as part of working people-pleasing policies.

22.20. Theodorakis talks about saboteurs in education, referring to New Democracy and PASOK. He asks for party youth participation in universities to be dismantled. He accuses former government education minister Baltas of destroying education by accusing students of going after the best grades.

22.16. Lafazanis talks about a revolution in public health and education, by offering state money to save/finance them. This can\t happen with bailout austerity policies. In order for this to happen, a return to a national currency is necessary.

22.14. Meimarakis believes in non-government schools and asks for a constitutional revision to make them happen. He accuses Tsipras of ideological fanaticism on the subject and says that Tsipras hates the private sector and is dying to tax them as much as possible.

22.12. Tsipras says his party doesn't believe in the privatization of education, but stands for public pilot schools.

22.07. Tsipras recounts the promises his government fulfilled, including the bill for the humanistic crisis and the 100 doses for debt to the state. He accuses New Democracy that they settled instead of negotiating with the EU and the Troika. He promises that the ENFIA property tax will be gone in the future, because he doesn't believe in it and was forced to enforce it because of the Papandreou and Samaras governments voting for it.

22.05. Meimarakis says the bailout deal is the only thing Tsipras brought to the table this past seven months. He repeats that his party is not making empty promises, unlike Tsipras. He talks about investments and the insurance system, claiming that Tsipras is destroying the country in all these issues. He says that as the leader of the first party he will be looking to form a coalition government, unlike Tsipras who wants self rule for his party.

22.04. Lafazanis says his party is fighting for a socialist state, but will be fighting against corruption and special interests until then.

22.00. Theodorakis accuses the big parties for using their constituencies in the public sector, saying the country has hundreds of entities and that's unacceptable and a disgrace. He wants a change in policies with evaluation in all stages of public sector.

21.55. Koutsoumbas says that for the corruption in the public sector, structure is to blame, not the public servants. He chastises the way the public sector is run, adds nothing about the Communist party's responsibilities for its state.

21.52. Kammenos defends his party's choice to vote for the bailout, in spite of his promises. He says his party will enforce the bailout deal and attempt to change the unfair points for the most disadvantaged citizens.

21.48. Asked whether she will give a report about her party's financial affairs, Gennimata answers that the prosecutor has all relevant documents at his disposal. She claims that the question is irrelevant to the issues of the country. She adds there has been no evidence against anyone in her party, as far as she is concerned.

21.45. Fofi Gennimata says that if there was a Razzie award for worst handling of the economy, Tsipras would be a sure winner. She claims that PASOK has the knowledge for negotiations and plans to use it in the next coalition government.

21.41. Kammenos claims that Independent Greeks are asking for zero taxation to the money that left the banks and the country, to offer incentive for investments.

21.37. Dimitris Koutsoumbas is defending the Communist party's policies of a different development model, outside the EU with a nationalization of wealth and a redistribution to the people. He claims that Greece has plenty of wealth and nationalization is the way forward. He accuses Popular Unity of being a party recently converted to the socialist redistribution.

21.35. Theodorakis says The River party voted for the third bailout for fear of the worst. He adds that his party will fight for the Greek businesses, the unemployed and the working Greeks. Asked about what could bring investments, he says that low taxation is a way forward for foreign investments.

21.31. Lafazanis blasts out on memorandum policies and claims that a return of the country to a national currency could save the country, boost development and present a way out for the country. He adds the transition is a more simple process and the following currency devaluation will be a solution out of austerity policies.

21.28. New Democracy's Meimarakis admits that most promises given by New Democracy in 2012 were not fulfilled, adding that if the Samaras government was not interrupted in 2015, many of these pledges would have been fulfilled at the end of the government's tenure. He accuses Tsipras of not welcoming investments and says his party is pro-investment.

21.23. Asked why should the people vote for SYRIZA after not having fulfilled its promises in the January campaign, Tsipras recounts his rhetoric about his fight in negotiations in Brussels and added that most promises given will be fulfilled in the future when the memorandum of understanding is over.

21.17. State TV ERT moderator Panos Charitos introduces the 7 politicians and the six journalists, along with the debate rules agreed upon. Ninety seconds for each reply to 30 second questions by the journalists. Repeat question lasts 15 seconds, answer lasts 30 seconds tops.

21.15. The debate is (finally) on.

21.05. Punctuality never a political strong-suit in the country. Although it was supposed to start at 21.00 sharp and all leaders are in position from 20.40, a short (?) delay feels almost natural. For Greece, anyway...

20.51. The debate is about to begin (21.00 Athens time) and is expected to last a little more than three hours. According to the rules agreed upon by the parties, there will be six question rounds on domestic and foreign policy and one free round where the six interviewers can ask anything they choose.

20.35. All political leaders have arrived in the building of state TV ERT, where the debate is to take place. Only three leaders made any statement for the press. Panos Kammenos (Independent Greeks) and Fofi Gennimata (PASOK) praised the debate for it contribution to democracy, while Panagiotis Lafazanis (Popular Unity), was critical of the debate rules not allowing a more free exchange of views by the leaders. Alexis Tsipras (SYRIZA), Evangelos Meimarakis (New Democracy), Stavros Theodorakis (The River) and Dimitris Koutsoumbas (Communist Party) chose to make no statement.

Οι πιο πρόσφατες Ειδήσεις

Διαβάστε πρώτοι τις Ειδήσεις για ό,τι συμβαίνει τώρα στην Ελλάδα και τον Κόσμο στο