Three candidates for the municipality of Athens – current mayor Giorgos Kaminis, Aris Spiliotopoulos and Gabriel Sakellaridis – appeared on Mega Channel on Tuesday evening for a live debate. The three candidates touched upon a number of issues, such as police presence, but had a major argument over the construction of a mosque.
New Democracy’s candidate Aris Spiliotopoulos claimed that he “never disagreed with the construction of the mosque; I disagree as to where it will be constructed”. As an MP, Mr. Spiliotopoulos had voted in favor of a relevant bill in 2009 for the construction of a mosque in Athens.
Mr. Kaminis accused Mr. Kaminis of “being inconsistent” and added that “we have another classic case of hypocrisy”. Gabriel Sakellaridis commented that Mr. Spiliotopoulos has “made an error” by adopting a “far-right populist discourse”
Regarding police presence in Athens, Mr. Kaminis accused Mr. Spiliotopoulos of scaremongering, for likening the city to «war-torn Kabul» in previous comments. The ND candidate argued that he wants “police everyone” and was in favor of the reinstatement of the municipal police. SYRIZA’s candidate Sakellaridis commented that there is “an uneven distribution of police in Athens”.
Mr. Spiliotopoulos accused current mayor Kaminis of being unable to show anything in recent years, while Mr. Sakellaridis noted that Athens neighborhoods have been abandoned for the past 3.5 years. Mr. Kaminis countered that he managed to secure 120 million euros in European grants.