If you ask 1000 citizens of our country which city in Cyprus sets the benchmark of progress and development, I am sure that at least 900 of them will say: Limassol.
And they are right!
They are right because over many years the city of Limassol has witnessed rapid growth and is constantly changing for the better. The stamp of Andreas Christou, and that of his predecessor, Demetris Kontides, is indelible in the transformation of Limassol from a city, to THE CITY.
In this sense, then, the official presentation of the candidate for Mayor of Limassol, Andreas Christou might be unnecessary. The work produced by Andreas Christou made it unnecessary, projects and work which are tangible and undeniable proof of his service.
Limassol is constantly changing for the better because it has a capable and innovative Mayor with a vision. And of course, because next to him there is a capable municipal city council with which the Mayor is working collectively and by consensus.
Municipal Council. This is the second essential factor to be able to produce tangible work and the Municipality is indeed progressing and moving forward.
The progress and development of Limassol is proof of the great potential that local government has to change for the better local communities, to upgrade their prospects and improve people’s quality of life.
Local Government can convert cities and communities to component parts of a participatory democracy and social cohesion. It can make better use of resources and the comparative advantages of each region. It can more easily listen to the concerns, problems and expectations of people. It can provide quicker improvement in people’s quality of life.
We could list a lot more about local government’s possibilities to offer services to society and citizens.
By itself, of course, and automatically, it cannot do so. This is accomplished when there is a coherent vision, when there is timely design and planning, when there is prudent management, coordination and effectiveness. That is, when there is a capable Mayor and a competent municipal council – just like in Limassol.
In the Municipality of Limassol AKEL is powerful. The presence of AKEL-Left- New Forces in the City Council is strong. This fact acted as a catalyst for the smooth, efficient functioning of the Council.
So in Limassol there is a proven recipe for success which we must maintain. A tried and successful Mayor. A powerful AKEL acting positively in the functioning of the Council and the municipality in general.
And behind the Mayor and the strong presence of AKEL there is a glorious history, spanning 90 years, which proves that the relationship of the Party with the local government is not incidental, occasional nor uneven.
It is a relationship that yielded a lot for Local Government, which grew, developed, and expanded its responsibilities and powers with AKEL’s enduring consistent support.
It is a relationship that offered a lot to local communities and citizens.
It is a relationship that creates the conditions for advancing local self-government and not the reverse. And this is a very important issue because Local Government as an institution is a focal point and is of critical importance as to what decisions are taken.
The reform of local government is for AKEL the necessary condition for liberating the creative forces of local communities and for their freedom from the distortions of a state and a political system that we all today know how counterproductive it is.
With the reform of local government we want to stop the path of its downgrading being imposed by the government austerity and depreciation policies. At the same time we seek to give a new impetus and new strength to local government to pursue better quality and cheaper services to citizens.
AKEL has decided its candidate lists through democratic processes in which the leading role is played by the local communities themselves.
Our candidates combine proven experience of Local Government militants with young people’s innovation and enthusiasm, eager to work, with a willingness to create and understand the responsibilities they assume at this critical juncture of our country.
This is what we are committed to put our proposals into practice for more efficient, more humane, more modern local administration that will provide quality services and opportunities for citizens.
The upcoming local elections are for us a great opportunity to meet again, to get to know and talk to the people again.
It is the starting point of a new common path, a new, a more promising era of joint decisions and struggles.
To turn the page preserving from the past our steadfast principles.
To move into the future together by building new relationships of trust that will allow us to break the vicious circle of barren debates about the past.
To open up the horizons for a better and more creative tomorrow.
Firm principles, new relationships of trust with society.
That’s how we will march to the local and municipal elections.
With victory, for the good of local government and the citizens of the Limassol city Municipality.
Speech of Stephen Stephanou, AKEL Political Bureau member at the presentation of the candidate Mayor Andreas Christou and the AKEL municipal councilors and School Board candidates for Limassol city