By Elias Hazou
INTERNAL REFORM – as a means of regaining lost ground among the electorate – was the pledge made by DIKO and socialists EDEK during separate party congresses held over the weekend.
During the course of an ‘Ideological Congress’ on Sunday, DIKO leader Marios Garoyian was especially critical of his party’s recent track record.
In a speech, Garoyian acknowledged that the politics of clientism have withered the party’s ideological appeal, leading to waning support among the public, which has been exploited by the two major ‘power parties’ – an apparent allusion to DISY and AKEL.
After much debate, the DIKO congress approved a raft of amendments to the party’s statute. In a departure from past practice, separate votes will be held for the election of the party chairman and for the members of the Central Committee and the Executive Bureau.
DIKO will be holding a national electoral congress in early December to elect the chairman. The two main contenders for the party leadership are incumbent leader Garoyian and MP Nicolas Papadopoulos.
Three months later another congress will take place to elect the rest of the leadership.
In addition, under the changes any party member has the right to vote and to stand for party office provided they have been registered as members nine months prior to an election. This stipulation will take effect after the following elections.
Earlier this month, eyebrows were raised when some 19,000 people scrambled to register as DIKO members. The mad rush was attributed to current party rules stating that only those who are registered as party members two months before an internal party election are entitled to vote.
At the time the party leadership dismissed allegations that it was opening its gates to anyone, insisting that the 19,000 new members were DIKO supporters anyway.
Also on Sunday, EDEK endorsed a series of reforms to its own party statute, including a ceiling on the number of terms for both party and state office. Although the provision regarding terms for state office will have retroactive effect, it will apply after the 2016 legislative elections.
And in a bid to boost transparency, MPs, MEPs, ministers, mayors and municipal councillors who are members of EDEK or were elected on the party ticket must submit a wealth statement to the party every two years. The statements filed must be endorsed by a certified accountant or auditor.
In addition, the party committed to making public its balance sheet every year. A special press conference will be convened where the party chairman will announce the party accounts, which will also be posted on the party’s website.