AKEL Conference overwhelmingly approves independent candidacy of Andreas Mavroyiannis for the presidential elections with 90% of the vote
Andreas Mavroyiannis won 90% of the votes (891 votes) during AKEL’s extraordinary Pancyprian Conference which convened on Sunday in the Nicosia Conference Centre to take the Party’s final decision, approving his independent candidacy for the upcoming 2023 presidential elections.
99 delegates at the Conference voted against Mavroyiannis’ candidacy, which corresponds to 10 per cent.
A total of 999 delegates voted, 990 were valid votes, 9 were blank.
Following months of free, democratic and fruitful debate within the Party Base Groups, but also with the New Forces and friends of the Party, including of course special sessions of the Central Committee, the grass roots of AKEL sent out a powerful message of unity, determination and optimism for progressive change around the independent candidacy of Andreas Mavroyiannis.
Speech by Stefanos Stefanou, General Secretary of the Central Committee of AKEL, at the Extraordinary Pancyprian Party Conference on the Presidential Elections
5 June 2022, AKEL C.C. Press Office, Nicosia
This is an important day. Not only because the Pancyprian Conference is the culmination of a lengthy course of internal-party dialogue with the members, New Forces and friends of the Party.
It is important because here we are not deciding on a person or an election battle. Here we are deciding for our country.
For us Cyprus transcends both party and ideology and any personal beliefs. Because a decision for Cyprus is a decision for tomorrow. For our children. For the young people who are among us today and rightfully demand a homeland that will embrace their dreams.
That is precisely where I want to begin my speech today. From the dilemma of the upcoming presidential election that will determine our decision today:
Do we want a Cyprus that will suit the current government ruling forces or a homeland for those who don’t compromise with their dreams being constrained?
With this question in mind, we began our internal party procedures that led us to today’s Pancyprian Conference.
In AKEL we are proud of the democratic procedures we follow. Procedures that combine dialogue with the evaluation of all the objective facts surrounding the Presidential Elections and the synthesis of different opinions. It is through this orderly procedure that Party members have a voice and a role and are involved in the decision making.
AKEL is neither afraid, nor shying away from conducting a dialogue with its people. On the contrary! It seeks this dialogue precisely because it is through discussion and reflection that the best possible decisions can be taken. It is through this procedure that the Party leadership takes the pulse and opinion of the grassroots membership and operates with what we call collective wisdom.
We in AKEL are proud of yet another fact: that regardless of the opinions that exist, when decisions are taken, we all rally behind them and devote all our energies into the work to implement them. Altogether, with one fist, with one dynamic, with strength and momentum.
That is how we have always done.
That’s what we will do now again!
As soon as we take our final decision today at the Conference, we will all give our all into the difficult battle of the Presidential Elections. Because for us, elections are not about petty-party calculations and the promotion of any personal agendas. We have nothing to do with the allocation of any Ministerial and institutional posts, nor with spoils of power. For us, these things do not count. We do not count them. For us what does matter, our only criterion and concern is how to best serve our country and its people. How our people will continue to live and create on this wonderful island of ours.
AKEL always approaches the Presidential Elections as a starting point to open up new perspectives and new horizons for our country and society.
Especially now that our Cyprus is faced with many serious deadlocks, many of which were caused by the ten years of DISY’s rule. Now, when we must tackle them with determination and find solutions to the multiple problems that plague our country.
First and foremost, it is imperative that Cyprus emerges from the quagmire of the prolonged stalemate surrounding the Cyprus problem that is consolidating partition. It must emerge from the quagmire of social inequalities, institutional entanglement/interwoven interests and corruption, cronyism/clientelism and authoritarianism that have been so dominant in recent years.
We want, seek and will continue to work consistency, devoting all our energies and efforts so that a better day will dawn for our country and society. To turn the page and move forward.
The future of our country is for us identified with progressive change. This is what our country needs. This is what our people seek.
Progressive change is not some empty slogan without content. Progressive change contains the vision and challenges of a new era that is difficult, contradictory and demanding. It includes a plan of action that is concrete and targeted. Grandiose and pompous words, sloganeering and meaningless empty “I pledge to….” get us nowhere. We have been living in this situation for almost ten years now. That is why we must and will leave it behind.
We can achieve progressive change by activating all the forces of our country and all the talents of our people.
We can and must re-inspire society, defeat fatalism and restore optimism. We must put a smile back on the faces of our people, who are living with the daily stress and pressure of social and economic insecurity.
On the Cyprus problem
Progressive change has at its core the promotion of a solution to the Cyprus problem. A solution that will put an end to the Turkish occupation, that will liberate us from the partitionist barbed wire and reunite our land and people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
Many people ask: but is it possible when we are facing such a provocative and aggressive Turkey to solve the Cyprus problem?
We answer: if we do not act, if we do not take concrete initiatives to create momentum for the resumption of the negotiations from the point where they had remained at Crans Montana, building on the body of work that has been created through years of negotiations, no one else will move on our behalf.
If we do not put the need for a solution of the Cyprus problem before Turkey with the submission of specific proposals that create momentum, Turkey will continue to instrumentalize and exploit the prolonged deadlock and perpetuate the partition on the ground. This is precisely what Turkey is doing now in Famagusta, whose opening of the enclosed area was ultimately neither some trick, nor a ploy by Turkey to serve communication considerations/purposes (Note: reference to the statements made by the former Anastasiades Foreign Minister and now presidential candidate Nikos Christodoulides).
Cyprus is unfortunately on the verge of permanent partition. We do not compromise and do not accept partition. We will continue to struggle against it by fighting for the solution of our national problem.
On the Economy
Progressive change involves the formulation of a new developmental model that will ensure stability and sustainability in the local economy and produce quality jobs. A model that definitively and irrevocably abandons the “get-rich-quick” policies and circumstantial profit, which during the period of DISY’s government became official and repeated practice. A developmental model that invests in the comparative advantages of our country and in the traditional sectors that have proved their importance over the years. First and foremost, a model that will support small and medium-sized enterprises, which constitute the very backbone of our economy. At the same time, it integrates and exploits new technologies, research and innovation, creating new sectors of economic and business activity. The new developmental model promotes a green and circular economy.
On the welfare state
Progressive change involves strengthening and upgrading the welfare state so that it can adequately and qualitatively meet the essential needs of society. It must be able to confront and address social inequality decisively and not feed and reinforce it, as is currently the case. We aim to create a welfare state that guarantees dignity to workers, pensioners, the vulnerable groups of the population, refugees, the war-stricken people, the young generation, which must be based on the acquisition of a family and a home, which is currently an elusive dream.
Work with rights
Progressive Change promotes regulations that put a stop to the phenomena of cheap and unpaid work and unregulated forms of employment. It institutionally ensures the implementation of collective agreements. It guarantees dignified wages and basic rights.
Progressive Change promotes and supports public health care which must be provided universally, equitably and qualitatively by the National Health Scheme (NHS). The NHS is a great social achievement. It must be protected from any undermining and at the same time be improved. Its shortcomings and weaknesses must be addressed without changing its philosophy, character and structure. Progressive change supports and upgrades public hospitals as the backbone of the NHS.
An important pillar of progressive change is the existence of modern, democratic and humane Education system that makes our children happy, enjoy life and have the will to create. An education which does not burden our children with stress and pressure, victims of an examination-centred system and private tuition.
Rule of law
Progressive change involves the restoration of the rule of law to uphold human rights and civil liberties, ensure equal treatment of citizens without discrimination, unimpeded access to justice, respect for independent institutions and their independence from political interference.
Progressive change resolutely and without any compromise stands up and combats corruption and entanglement/interwoven interests, which has really reached unprecedented levels during the period of the DISY party government.
An important element and pursuit of progressive change is the restoration of our country’s international credibility, which has been shattered by the ‘golden’ passport scheme and the deception of European institutions by the government ruling forces. We do not tolerate Cyprus being disgraced in the front page headlines and main news of international mass media. We must put an end to this shameful state of affairs which the behaviour of the government ruling forces has led us to.
Progressive change involves the protection and development of our environment. To do so demands ending policies that sacrifice the environment for the sake of powerful interests, anarchic developments without any planning. The priority of progressive change is to protect natural resources from anarchic development.
The problems are numerous. The challenges facing our country are even greater. The task is very difficult. Local and international conditions are difficult anyway. The need for change arises from everywhere. We have the vision, we have the will to pull the country out of the quagmire and bring about real change. And I emphasize “real” as the presidential elections are not only about personalities.
What is really at stake are policies to be pursued. On the one hand, there are those forces and circles who want the Anastasiades-Democratic Rally government to continue. On the other hand, we are lined up with those forces who want the country to at long last turn the page.
For this to be feasible, we as AKEL recognise and understand the need to forge cooperation and rally as many forces as possible.
We have worked very hard all through the previous period to reach a common understanding and forge cooperation, first and foremost by talking to the opposition parties. In seeking to achieve cooperation we went the extra mile and proposed a candidate from the broader spectrum of the opposition should be supported, who can express all the forces aspiring to achieve change. The fact that cooperation at the leadership level was not achieved does not mean that we abandon the effort for the creation of a broad social coalition.
Supporting an independent candidate not affiliated to a political party responds to the needs of our conditions because an independent candidate can bridge differences, create convergences, synthesize and unite forces, as well as cultivate the ground for the necessary bold steps to arrive at a common ground. He can effectively combat the distrust and suspicion with which a section of society views political parties and the political system. He can once again inspire optimism and the desire to create.
From the very beginning of our efforts to forge cooperation, we have sought an independent candidate who meets certain criteria.
A candidate who shares with us the need for a progressive change in the country.
A change that begins with the solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality, as defined by the relevant Resolutions of the United Nations.
A change with a strong social dimension, which puts people and their legitimate needs at the centre of the policies to be pursued, to serve the well-intentioned interests of the many and not the interests of the few, the privileged, the elites and the establishment, as has been the case in recent years.
We sought and discussed an independent candidate with a proven track record of administration and governance.
A candidate with profound knowledge about the Cyprus problem and convinced that without a solution and the reunification of the country our people have no future.
A candidate with knowledge of domestic and international affairs and the economy.
A candidate that must be social sensitive, because in the difficult world we live in, the first thing that is required is sensitivity to the concerns and problems of the people, a large section of whom are suffering from poverty and the huge rise in the prices of essential goods.
We sought a candidate with significant connections in international politics so that we can restore our country’s shattered prestige.
We sought a candidate who, although independent, has a history of working with the political forces. A candidate over whom no shadow hovers, who is honest and clean.
We looked for and discussed a candidate who can credibly and convincingly address society at large and achieve the coordination of efforts, the rallying of forces to turn a new page for our Cyprus.
Following our inter-party procedures, discussing both at the leadership and grassroots level, we formulated our proposal to back the candidacy of Andreas Mavroyiannis. An accomplished diplomat who for years has successfully served Cyprus and our people from numerous important positions.
We are convinced that Andreas Mavroyiannis meets the criteria we have set.
We are convinced that Andreas Mavroyiannis can lead and express the effort to achieve progressive change.
We are convinced that Andreas Mavroyiannis is a choice to bring victory.
We are convinced that in Andreas Mavroyiannis our country can once again move forward with confidence to the future.
Today, we are completing our procedures and taking our decisions. From today we roll up our sleeves and get to work.
So that we can look our young people in the eye.
For our Cyprus and our people.
United, we will struggle for change.