This morning, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of AKEL met to pay tribute to Demetris Christofias.
Demetris was an exceptional man with a capital M. He stood out because of his ethos, all his political behaviour and the fact that he was honest, sincere and consistent. He stood out because he meant what he said and implemented it in practice. It is no accident that a very large section of the Cypriot people called him simply by his first name, Demetris. It was because people felt he was just one of them. This is due to the fact that Demetris grew up facing a great many difficulties, in poverty and that he felt people’s pains. And the people felt that in Demetris they had someone to rely on that could aspire to bring better days for themselves and their families.
As a political figure, Demetris Christofias, again in our opinion, has delivered lessons in ethos. Regardless of how his political opponents behaved towards him, he had the ability to rise above it all. He assumed the leadership of AKEL at a very difficult time for the Party, at a time when many felt that a great torrent would sweep AKEL away and dissolve it. Back then with his comrades in the Party leadership, the oldest and most experienced, but also the younger comrades, managed not only to keep the Party upright, but to raise it high up, transforming it to become the first political force in the country. The paths that our veteran comrades had handed over to us, Dimitris and the then Party leadership turned them into big avenues.
He accomplished two things that seemed impossible for AKEL and the Popular Movement in general. He was elected President of the House of Representatives and subsequently President of the Republic. History I’m sure will judge him and rank him where he truly deserves.
As far as AKEL is concerned, I would like to say that, with the assumption of his leadership, he proceeded to make many changes. He made sure that the changes made to the Party Statutes would further democratize the Party, modernize and renew it, and at the same time for the Party to be able to produce political proposals and elaborate policies. I will just say two things. The AKEL Parliamentary Group in 1991 had 19 members (Note: out of 56 seats) and 18 of them were elected for the very first time – only the late Lakis Theodoulou continued from the previous MP’s – while as a result of the work produced by the Auxiliary Bureaus of the C.C, AKEL succeeded in formulating policy positions on all the major and small issues that affect Cypriot society.
As far as the post of President is concerned, it is not an exaggeration if I say something that was said in the morning by Mr. Talat. That is to say, together they pave the way towards achieving a great number of convergences upon which Mr. Anastasiades and Mr. Akinci relied on to get very close towards reaching a solution of the Cyprus problem. As regards the natural gas sector, a great horizon was opened up for Cyprus, which, if properly exploited, I consider would considerably improve the living conditions of all Cypriot people, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins. As for the rest of the multi-faceted work that his government has produced, I will only refer to the fact that he supported the people who are in need of the support of the state and with the social policy pursued he made the common people aspire to a better life. And finally, I would like to note that the Medical School which for the first time will have student university graduates is also an achievement of the Christofias government.
I will therefore again say that objective historical scholars will rank him where he truly deserves in history.