WITH the presidential election less than 11 months away, Prez Nik felt obliged to give a public display of his rusfetological powers to re-assure citizens seeking some type of rusfeti in exchange for their vote that he had not lost his touch or his desire to dispense favours to those willing to kneel before him and pledge their undying loyalty.
The appointment of the unknown Maria Lottides as ombudswoman was an emphatic show of rusfeti strength as the approval of legislature was also needed before she could take over the well-paid public post. The prez, who could not accept defeat on this, was busy making calls to individual deputies on Friday morning to ensure the appointment was approved and he pulled it off by two just votes.
Akel, Diko and Edek had decided to reject the appointment but Nik managed to persuade three Diko deputies (two from Limassol) to go against their party decision and vote with Disy and the Lillikas Alliance in favour. To make sure the appointment was approved President of the House Demetris Syllouris who normally does not vote also voted in favour.
What was unclear was whether he took this unprecedented step as a favour to Nik, to whom he owes the House presidency, or to secure glowing write-ups by Kathimerini newspaper, the publishers of which are Mrs Lottides’ husband and brother-in-law?
THE APPOINTMENT was a triumph for Nik in many ways, because he showed that he could take an unknown lawyer who had an undistinguished career in the state legal service and make her ombudsperson while ignoring much more experienced and better qualified lawyers who had been serving in the ombudsperson’s office for years.
And he pulled it off even though a hostile legislature stood in his way and his interior minister Socratis Hasikos had proposed another person. In fact he was happy to publicly humiliate his minister against whom the Lottides clan has been waging a public war. Kathimerini mercilessly attacks Hasikos, while Demetris, the brother-in-law of the rusfeti beneficiary, had repeatedly unleashed his friend Odysseas on him.
The lack of loyalty the prez has shown to his minister is even more astonishing considering Hasikos’ newspaper Alithia had been blindly supporting Nik for decades. But he could not allow loyalty to get in the way of his drive to show potential supporters that he is the king of rusfeti and therefore the best person to brown-nose if they want a government favour.
A FEW DAYS before the House vote, Kathimerini carried a brief item straight out of the arslikhan school of journalism, presumably to ensure that there would be no let up to Nik’s effort to secure Mrs Lottides’ appointment.
“From the hill of power, I learn that Nikaros* expects a lot from two meetings he will have in Malta these two days, at the conference of the European People’s Party. From what I have been told by my source in the Cypriot expat community in the US, the Nikaros-Trump meeting is ‘only a click away’ from its finalisation for June. ‘And this is owed to the very capable (government spokesman) Nicos Christodoulides and of course to the help given by us expatriates…’ he told me.”
There is little doubt that as elections draw closer Kathimerini’s glowing reports about Nikaros will glow so much you would need sunglasses to read them to avoid damage to your eye-sight.
*Nikaros – in the Cypriot dialect you can alter someone’s name to convey aspects of his character; a Nikaros is another way of saying ‘big Nikos’ or ‘macho Nikos’ and is often used in reference to our prez. A small and timid Nikos, lacking in alpha male qualities would be referred to as ‘Nikoudi’.
THE “VERY CAPABLE” spokesman, who is neither a Nikaros nor a Nikoudi – maybe a Nikaroudi – wound up his US tour in the role of acting foreign minister on Tuesday, but made sure we heard all about his many important meetings back in Kyproulla.
On Monday morning he was on state radio informing listeners about all this contacts in the US last weekend with the enthusiasm of a teenager recounting his first visit to a nightclub. The next day however he did not appear on the radio to tell us about his Monday meetings, leaving this job to the CyBC’s US correspondent. He belatedly realised that in his new role it was not his job to report his activities; he was too important for that.
Christodoulides met the White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and told him that the time had come for meeting between Anastasiades and President Trump as this would send the message (we love sending messages as we are incapable of any action) about strengthening Cyprus-US relations and Washington’s role in the region – hence Kathimerini’s report that it was “only a click” away, thanks to the “very capable” spokesman.
The meeting was “excellent” said Nikaroudi and he was “fully satisfied.” Could he have been anything else?
THERE has not been a meeting between the presidents of the US and Kyproulla for 21 years. The last time there was such a meeting was in 1996 when the late Glafcos Clerides met Bill Clinton. Since then, the only contact has been a commemorative photograph of comrade Toff and his Missus with Barack and Michele Obama during a White House reception.
Makarios was the first president to visit the White House in 1962 during the Kennedy presidency. The record holder on the White House visits was the late great Spy Kyp who was invited three times. His first visit was in 1978, when Jimmy Carter was president, and he visited twice during Ronald Reagan’s presidency (1981, 1983), which is quite astonishing considering he was such a sad joke of a president.
George Vass visited George Bush Sr, but the Ethnarch never got an invite despite efforts being made. His UN sanctions-busting and involvement in the Milosevic money-laundering made him ineligible. Comrade Tof also tried to arrange a visit, despite his ideological hatred of the imperialist, capitalist Yanks but the invitation never came.
Nik’s chances of visiting Trump may be quite good because apart from sending a message to the world, they could exchange tips on maintaining a young man’s head of hair.
SPEAKING of past presidents, Nik always liked to say that he considered Clerides his political father but his boast does not seem to be borne out by reality. His actions and words increasingly remind us of Spy Kyp rather than the old sea-wolf. The open way in which he engages in rusfeti and his eagerness to give more money to public parasites is pure Kyp.
He is also becoming more Kyp on the handling of the Cyprob by the day (on his way to becoming another Tassos) turning up his patriotic rhetoric. The biggest throwback to the Kyp era was this week’s gloating about the Cyprob resolution passed by the European Peoples Party conference in Malta. When our prez starts reading significance into meaningless resolutions we know that the peace process is over and the election campaign is in full sway.
THE FORMER amigos Mustafa and Nik meet tonight for dinner in the presence of the much-maligned Espen Barth Eide in an attempt to restart the talks process. According to a report in Saturday’s Politis only the three would be at the dinner and Mustafa had demanded there was no alcohol served.
Depriving poor old Nik of alcohol during dinner, given his fondness for a tipple, seems unnecessarily cruel. Is Mustafa hoping that Nik would be more inclined to agree to anything he says so that he could get out of the dining room, as soon as they finish their dessert, in order to have drink?
His plan could backfire, because, without his favourite bevy to calm his nerves, Nik is known to become bad-tempered and aggressive. He would certainly not be in conciliatory and constructive mood if he is suffering alcohol deprivation. I hear that Eide has come up with a cunning plan to keep everyone happy.
The bottle of water used to replenish Nik’s water glass will contain vodka. Initially the idea was to have zivania but its strong smell would have given the game away.
WHAT a shame Phil did not get hold of this piece of news as it could have accused Mustafa of a new blackmail to add to the ones it credited him with on Friday’s front page when its banner headline said “From blackmail to blackmail.”
It was the only paper that identified this blackmail, reporting that “the Turkish side’s appetite (for blackmail) has grown after it was satisfied by the House on the issue of the enosis referendum.” Akinci and Ankara were recording “new blackmails in view of the resumption of the talks” planning on putting Nik before the dilemma of either accepting their conditions or the talks deadlock continuing.
Mustafa’s blackmail relates to his demand for a road-map aimed at the talks being concluded by the end of May. Could you blame him given that Nik would probably like the talks to keep going on until next year so he could tell people to vote for him so he could solve the Cyprob.
THE INBETWEENERS, we are sad to report, are unlikely to unite forces in order to fight the next presidential elections with a single candidate. Yiorkos Lillikas appears to have lost the plot, having realised that Edek, Diko, Solidarity and possibly the Greens will all back Junior, and leave him with no chance of getting more than 6% of the vote.
He has engaged in spoiling tactics, proposing mousy lawyer Andreas Angelides as an alternative candidate of the inbetweeners, without asking the guy first. Angelides said he was not interested, forcing an embarrassed Lillikas to claim that he could be interested if he was asked. Having failed with this spoiling tactic, he then came up with the ludicrous idea of a general election to choose the inbetweener candidate.
Alithia columnist Alecos Constantinides made the most sensible proposal. As the parties, in Dr Theocharous’ words, represented the ‘patriotic space’, their candidate should be the most patriotic party leader, although he did not propose a scientific method of measuring their patriotism. I have heard there is a method being developed at present involving a urine test.
PIRAEUS Bank is no more. At a glitzy event at the Hilton Park Hotel on Tuesday night the new name of the bank was revealed – Astrobank. The way the new name was decided was explained on a big screen. Apparently, it was based on the idea that our Kyproulla was the ‘star of the Mediterranean’ and it showed the map of the country transforming into a star.
The reality is that the map of Kyproulla resembles a frying pan more than a star, but it you could not call a bank Fryingpanbank or Tiganibank, especially when it is the star of the region.
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