ROGUE MP Zacharias Koulias and DIKO deputy leader Georgios Colocassides were kicked out of the centrist party yesterday, accused of undermining the party, creating misery and even perverting the morality of public life.
Party leader Marios Garoyian announced the expulsions last night after a lengthy meeting of the DIKO executive board and parliamentary group.
According to reports, 25 DIKO cadres voted to expel Koulias, while three abstentions were recorded, believed to be Nicolas Papadopoulos, Kyriacos Kenevezos and Christiana Erotocritou.
The renegade Famagusta deputy incensed party members when he refused to back the incumbent Garoyian in the election for a new House President last week. In fact, the only public indication the party got as to how he would vote came on the day of the election last Thursday, when his vote clinched victory for EDEK’s contender, Yiannakis Omirou.
The same reports said 20 officials voted in favour of expelling Colocassides, while seven voted against, including the same three who abstained earlier. One member had to leave due to prior engagements and did not vote at all.
Colocassides had also refused to back Garoyian’s candidacy, failing to turn up to the executive office meeting which decided in favour of the party leader running again for the top seat in parliament.
Garoyian said last night the decision was taken to expel them “in the name of party, political and moral order, which is the basis of our unity and the strength of our ideology, principles and values.”
He argued that through their stance, statements and behaviour, both men chose to drag the party back into introversion, misery and contradictions, undermining its unity, disappointing its supporters and bankrupting its authority and relationship of trust with the party base and Cypriot people.
Colocassides had excluded himself from the party by undermining and showing contempt to its collective organs, said Garoyian, who saved his heaviest criticism for Koulias.
Pulling no punches, he said Koulias also manoeuvred himself out of the party by turning into a “pitiful protagonist of our political life, voting against his party’s candidate for House President and voting for the president of another party.”
Describing his actions as “shameful”, the DIKO leader warned: “His act opens the door to undermining political normalcy and perverting the morals of our public life.”
In no mood for compromise or leniency, Garoyian said nothing could justify his actions. Any “dangerous attempt” to make a hero out of such a “political anomaly” was unthinkable “when through his choices he turned the election of the new House President into apostasy”.
The former house president then effectively issued a warning of the party’s resolve to purge anyone who tries to divide or undermine it.
“Our common decision is to never again allow anybody to destroy our unity, to use our democracy to split our party, abuse the trust of our supporters, to betray their expectations and vision, to turn the party into a field of personal conflict and unfair competition, tearing up its history, dignity and credibility.”
Around four hours before the decision was announced to expel the two, a tense climate developed outside the DIKO main offices, with supporters of both the party leadership and the two rogue members facing off in the street.
The two camps exchanged curt words when Garoyian supporters prevented Koulias and Colocassides supporters from releasing 1,000 black balloons as a symbol of the 10,000 votes both men won in May’s parliamentary elections.
As of last night, neither expelled member issued a comment.
While Colocassides failed to make it into parliament last month, Koulias does have a seat in the House with his name on it. Whether he gives it up, joins another party or remains independent remains to be seen. If he stays on as an independent, then along with Greens deputy Georgios Perdikis, the two will become the unknown entities in parliament, with all parties potentially vying for their swing votes.
Source: Cyprus Mail