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Cyprus Internet Directory [ DISY: Christofias on a one-way street ]

DISY: Christofias on a one-way street

George Psyllides


AKEL speaks of political coup

MAIN opposition leader DISY’s Nicos Anastassiades yesterday said President Demetris Christofias had no choice but to step down or call an early election if he wanted confidence restored in his leadership.

“His option is a one-way street,” Anastassiades said. “Either he steps down or seeks renewal of his mandate.”

Ruling AKEL yesterday charged that the DISY leader and other opposition parties were attempting to stage a political coup to make way for Anastassiades to win the presidency.

Christofias has been under serious pressure since Monday when the investigator into the Mari blast Polys Polyviou apportioned him the lion’s share of the blame for the Mari naval base explosion in which 13 people died on July 11.

The police file containing the findings into a parallel criminal investigation that reportedly names ten people who could face prosecution, was also handed over to the Attorney-general yesterday.

Christofias and his government have rejected the notion that he had any responsibility for the events, a view which was repeated yesterday, coupled with the insistence that he would remain in his post, despite numerous calls for his resignation. 

The inquiry said on Monday that Christofias bore the most responsibility for the explosion in a cache of confiscated Iranian munitions at the Evangelos Florakis naval base at Mari that also knocked out the island’s main power station.

The munitions, which sat exposed to the elements for over two years before they exploded, had been seized from a Cyprus-flagged ship on its way to Syria.

The president said the findings were unsubstantiated while Polyviou, had exceeded his mandate. “As it is known we do not recognise neither we accept that the president has personal responsibility,” government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said.

Stefanou added that Polyviou went beyond his mandate by criticising the government’s foreign and diplomatic policy.

“Mr. Polyviou had no mandate to judge the government’s diplomatic and political handling and pass comment regarding what president told or didn’t tell (Syrian President Bashar al-) Assad,” Stefanou said.

 Christofias has assured Assad that he would not hand over the cargo to any other country apart from Syria or Iran.

The president said that the assurance was a diplomatic manoeuvre – a position that Polyviou said was inappropriate because it trapped Christofias and Cyprus.

Polyviou had also suggested that since Cyprus was a member of the EU, it should now abandon the policy of keeping a balance. “Are these within his mandate? Of course not,” Stefanou said.

But Anastassiades warned yesterday that if Christofias insisted on staying in power, DISY would  assume initiatives in consultation with other opposition parties to find “parliamentary and institutional” ways of “protecting the interests of the Cypriot people.”

The opposition has the majority in parliament and theoretically at least, they can make life difficult for the government by not passing any government bills including the state budget in December.

“Mr. Christofias is citing the critical issues faced by the country” but “the thing that should concern him is his and the government’s inability to handle any issue, having lost society’s trust,” Anastassiades said. “He is a president without popular legitimacy.”

Christofias said on Monday he has no intention to resign, adding that a protracted election period at a critical juncture for Cyprus would be the worst possible development.

But Anastassiades’ views were shared by EVROKO chairman Demetris Syllouris who said opposition parties should get together to discuss the “political crisis caused by Mr. Christofias’ refusal to accept the findings of the man he had appointed and assume his responsibility.” Syllouris said an initial contact had been made with other party leaders but any news should be expected in the next few days as parties discuss the developments.

For AKEL this was tantamount to a political coup.

“No matter how elegantly the matter is set ... it is clear they are planning a political coup,” AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou said. “During difficult and critical conditions for the country, the objective is to form a powerful right-wing front to elect Nicos Anastassiades president.”

Kyprianou said the result would be the creation of political instability, worsening of the already ailing economy, and paralysis of the state.

“So the country is being sacrificed to elect Mr. Anastassiades president and then they say they out national interest above everything else,” Kyprianou said. 

Kyprianou said it was not the first time in history that a president governs with the support of just one party, adding that Glafcos Clerides spent a lot of his second term – 1998-2003 – without the support of any other party apart from DISY.

DIKO, AKEL’s former government partners said Christofias’ refusal to accept the findings “widened the rift in the domestic front.”

The party urged the president to assume his responsibility and resign, a call echoed by socialists EDEK.



(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.

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