The five presidential candidates agreed to participate in a debate set for January 22 which will be broadcast by major TV stations, it emerged on Friday.
The two-hour debate is to be hosted by state broadcaster CyBC, and will also broadcast live on the other main TV stations; ΑΝΤ1, Sigma, TVONE and Alpha. The first part of the debate will be reportedly on the Cyprus problem and the second on domestic affairs.
All five party-backed candidates will participate; President Nicos Anastasiades backed by ruling Disy, Nicolas Papadopoulos the leader of Diko, who is also backed by socialist Edek, the Greens and the Solidarity Movement, Akel- backed independent candidate Stavros Malas, the head of the Citizens’ Alliance Giorgos Lillikas, and Elam’s leader Christos Christou.
The sixth candidate, head of the Laiki bondholders, Phivos Marathovouniotis, who runs as an independent, will not be taking part at the debate. Journalists will take turns grilling candidates on their positions on all issues.
Lillikas was the only candidate who had been pushing for a debate, criticising the others for avoiding one. The election camps of Anastasiades, Malas and Papadopoulos, he said earlier in the week limit themselves to monologues and depriving citizens of the possibility of hearing all candidates and comparing their arguments and suggestions so that they can decide who to vote for.
Malas and Papadopoulos had said in the past that they did not object to a debate as long as Anastasiades was also participating.
Before the previous presidential elections, in 2013, three TV debates took place where candidates had expressed their views on the economy, the Cyprus problem and internal affairs.