• The many open issues demand specific policies
  • The first programmatic statements of N. Christodoulides are vague
  • N. Christodoulides’ effort to find ways of cooperation in Parliament to secure a majority is evident

Sunday 26 February 2023, “HARAVGI” newspaper

QUESTION: How do you assess the programmatic positions as presented before the Parliament by the President of the Republic, Nicos Christodoulides?

AD: I consider that Mr. Christodoulides’ speech during his inauguration ceremony in the House of Representatives was in the same framework of his campaign during the election. He covered – of course – a large part of issues, but in a general vague way. It is understandable that the new President is called upon to reconcile the positions and approaches of himself and of the parties that participate in his government. However, the numerous open issues and stakes demand specific policies, and we shall wait to see and judge them.

To give you an example, at the critical and dangerous point where the Cyprus problem is at, with the Turkish side putting the unacceptable demand for sovereign equality and a two-state solution on the table, it is just not enough for Mr. Christodoulides to refer to the “agreed framework”. He must clearly commit himself to a solution of bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, which he did not mention – by the way – making use of the body of work agreed at the negotiations, the convergences recorded and of course the Guterres Framework.

If Mr. Christodoulides does not do so, Turkey will continue to remain unhindered and politically unscathed, and – inevitably – the Secretary General of the UN will not be convinced of our readiness to resume the negotiation procedure. If we abandon the Guterres Framework, Mr. Guterres will inevitably abandon us.

QUESTION: You have stated as a Party that you will be in opposition. What role do you foresee your Party playing as the opposition?

AD: In the presidential elections we waged the battle for progressive change. The correctness of our choice is also substantiated by the election result we received. Andreas Mavroyiannis registered 48% of the vote [in the second round] and was 8,000 votes short of victory. We did not succeed and that saddens us because we do not believe that the Christodoulides administration will handle the pending challenges Cypriot society faces, and the Cyprus problem, as Andreas Mavroyiannis would have done, with AKEL on his side, but also with many noteworthy people with whom we met and waged this honest battle together.

Therefore, from the moment the sovereign people have put us in the role of opposition, AKEL will remain a responsible, robust and serious opposition force. We are the only genuine force of assertion aiming at promoting society’s progress. With criticism but also by submitting proposals, both in Parliament and in social struggles and demands, AKEL will demand the implementation of policies for the many. We believe that the election result contains the element of a perspective, on which we want to build on. We do not need and do not deserve an AKEL recording 22% in Cypriot society, especially among the workers, but a much stronger AKEL. We do not take voters for granted.

However, we believe that the almost total rallying of the people of the Left around the Mavroyiannis candidacy, the fact that we have again established contact with people who had distanced themselves from us, but at the same time we have met broader forces, contain important positive and promising elements for AKEL. The result, under certain preconditions, with hard work and far from any complacency, can mark the restart and recovery of AKEL and the Cypriot Left, for the formation of a progressive social majority.

QUESTION: The new President proceeded to his first decision with the appointment of the Ministerial Cabinet. Do you think he has delivered what he promised?

AD: Well, Christodoulides set the bar high and passed under it because he clearly made a pledge and subsequently evidently broke it both regarding the 50-50% representation of women and men in the Cabinet, which would have conveyed a strong social symbolism, as well as with regards the other criteria that he himself set during the campaign. Therefore, a deficit in political credibility was registered.

Beyond that, we wish good work to the new Cabinet, which will be judged by the content of the policies to be implemented and by whether or not it distances itself from the rotten practices of institutional entanglement/interwoven interests and corruption of the Anastasiades decade, which struck a blow to good governance and disgraced Cyprus irreparably.

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