Next meeting will be make or break for 'inbetweeners'
THE FOUR minority opposition parties aim to tie up the business of choosing a presidential candidate for next February’s elections this Friday, clawing the fledgling alliance back from the brink of dissolution after weeks of shaky negotiations.
Speaking after a meeting of the four party leaders yesterday, EDEK leader Yiannakis Omirou said the recent problems facing the parties’ efforts were discussed, along with the criteria that should govern the evaluation process of potential candidates.
There was wide speculation in the press yesterday that the attempt to form a united front by DIKO, EDEK, EVROKO and the Greens, had fallen flat on its face due to opposing views on who the first choice candidate should be, not just among the parties, but within each party too.
Last Friday, DIKO leader Marios Garoyian announced that the four had decided on former finance minister Makis Keravnos as the candidate of choice. Within two days, Keravnos rejected the offer, somewhat embarrassingly for the parties who claim to represent the political space ‘in-between’ the two big parties AKEL and DISY.
The former minister questioned the credibility of the ‘in-betweeners’, offering criticism that they were not offering anything new to the political situation in Cyprus. Some reports had Keravnos bemoaning the fact that certain party officials had already begun campaigning for other candidates, despite the supposed agreement by the four leaders to propose his candidacy.
Unperturbed by the rebuff and negative press reports, the four party leaders met again yesterday where they agreed to meet again on Friday.
Omirou said all four expected to wrap up the issue of whether they will put their support behind a single candidate at the next meeting.
He acknowledged that the four will miss the original deadline set for May 31, saying this “small extension of a few days will not create any problems”.
The four leaders are expected to go back to their parties to discuss the contents of yesterday’s meeting and return on Friday ready to take a final decision.
Omirou said the chosen candidate will be free to seek the support of other parties, organisations and movements based on the joint political declaration of the four minority parties.
Earlier in the day, DIKO parliamentary spokesman Fytos Constantinou confirmed to the state broadcaster that DIKO’s second choice after Keravnos was its own man, former minister Christos Mavrellis. He was quick to note that this time, Mavrellis agreed without condition on his candidacy.
EDEK spokesman Demetris Papadakis also confirmed his party’s preferred candidates were presidential candidate Giorgos Lillikas and Marios Eliades.
Meanwhile, ruling party AKEL has made it clear it won’t sit around waiting for the minority parties to serve a ready-made meal, and will go its own way to decide a candidate for next February’s elections.
If the in-between space does manage to get behind one candidate, and that choice is not palatable to AKEL then it’s highly possible, DISY, AKEL and the in-betweeners will each field their own candidate.
Unless one candidate wins over 50 per cent of the vote, a second round of voting will be held by the two frontrunners. Regardless of who they are, the public can expect a wave of intense negotiations and horse-trading to establish new (or old) alliances to win the presidency.
(Source: Cyprus Mail)
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