nterview with Andros Kyprianou, former General Secretary of AKEL and AKEL MP:
All parties – except AKEL – collaborated with ELAM
Sunday 31 March 2024, “Haravgi” newspaper
QUESTION: All recent opinion polls show a steady growth of far-right ELAM. In fact in most cases, it seems to be fighting for the third place. How should ELAM’s growth be countered?
AK: Unfortunately, from the very first moment of ELAM’s foundation, all the political parties, except AKEL, have sought to use it to promote their political goals. Initially, MPs from all parties participated in events organised by the far-right party against the policies of the then President of the Republic of Cyprus D. Christofias on the Cyprus problem.
DISY party subsequently used ELAM to elect N. Anastasiades twice to the presidency of the Republic and current DISY President Anita Demetriou to the presidency of the House of Representatives and Annan Demetriou to the presidency of the Parliament. Most importantly, they supported and support his political positions on critical issues such as the Enosis Referendum, the Immigration issue and others, shaping people’s views in Cypriot society.
Now, fearing that they will lose votes to ELAM, DISY is trying to distance itself from it, but unfortunately things have become very difficult. To deal effectively with ELAM, you need to present it as it really is to the Cypriot people. A party born of the criminal Golden Dawn party [in Greece]. A party with suspicious connections to people in the underworld. With racist and inhumane policies that have nothing to do with the Greek civilisation. This effort must be made with consistency, steadfastness and not by serving whatever expediency of the moment.
QUESTION: The revelations about the recent scandal of the Abbey of Abbakoum Monastery also referred to huge sums of money that seem to have been out of control. What should be done about the taxation of the Church’s income?
AK: AKEL has been insisting for years that decisions need to be taken on the Church that will also be in its own interest. First and foremost, there should be a complete separation of the State and the Church. Then there should be a tax applied on church property. There must also be transparency and scrutiny over its financial activities.
Unfortunately, what is being revealed about the Abbakoum Monastery is doing great damage to society and the institution itself, with the faith of religious people in the Church being shaken. I therefore wonder why certain forces and circles opposed the debate proposed by AKEL to be held in the House of Representatives and aimed at taking measures that would prevent the public from being deceived in the future. As far as this particular scandal is concerned, both the State and the Church need to set an example of those involved in it.
I regret to say that the Christodoulides government showed such a lack of initiative at the initial stage to deal with the issue and only acted then when pressured by AKEL and the people.
QUESTION: The special envoy on Cyprus of the UN Secretary General María Angela Holguín Cuéllar has completed her first round of contacts in Cyprus. From your briefing on them, is there any scope for finding common ground for resuming the negotiations?
AK: The situation on the Cyprus problem is extremely difficult after the collapse at Crans Montana, the prolonged deadlock that subsequently followed and the escalation of Turkish provocative actions and aggression.
What is the main obstacle to the resumption of the talks? The unacceptable Turkish demand for a two state solution. It is this demand that Mr Christodoulides should have tried to dampen. I am afraid that what he is constantly repeating, about resuming the talks from where they left off at Crans Montana, is not in itself enough to move the Turkish side from its intransigent positions.
We need, without compromising on the substance, to provide incentives and convince it that if it cooperates on the correct basis, this time we will reach an agreement. The issues that Turkey is interested in are natural gas and the development of a special relationship with the EU, while the Turkish Cypriots are interested in political equality.
It is to these issues that Mr Christodoulides should turn and seek to formulate proposals which, without representing a retreat on principles, could convince the Turkish side to move away from its unacceptable demands. AKEL’s comprehensive proposal it has submitted [on the Cyprus problem] helps towards this end.

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