By Stefanos Evripidou
NEW DIKO leader Nicolas Papadopoulos had a meeting of the minds yesterday with Citizens’ Alliance leader Giorgos Lillikas, whose presidential candidacy he supported last March.
The two confessed to seeing eye to eye on a range of issues, particularly the Cyprus problem, economy and internal governance, and predicted future collaboration, though not at present when one party is in opposition and the other in government.
After beating previous leader Marios Garoyian in the DIKO leadership elections earlier this month, Papadopoulos vowed to keep the centre right party in the coalition government with ruling DISY and EVROKO so long as President Nicos Anastasiades stuck to his commitments to the party.
Papadopoulos had openly opposed Garoyian’s decision to back Anastasiades in the presidential elections, and put his weight behind Lillikas, who failed to make it to the second round of elections.
The new DIKO leader has launched a ‘get-to-know-you’ round of meetings with all party leaders, meeting yesterday with Lillikas and EVROKO’s Demetris Syllouris.
Speaking after the meeting, Lillikas said the two exchanged views on the key issues concerning Cyprus now, particularly the peace process.
“There is an obvious convergence of views, the same concerns are identified but there are also common goals regarding the conduct of an anti-occupation struggle and the pursuit of a just solution which will overturn the occupation,” said Lillikas.
Papadopoulos echoed a similar sentiment, saying the two parties share common perceptions and concerns, particularly regarding the Cyprus problem.
“It’s true there is enough common ground,” obliging the two parties to work together to find solutions to the problems facing society today, he said.
Lillikas ruled out cooperation during elections at this stage, since the Citizens’ Alliance was a member of the opposition while DIKO is currently part of the coalition government.
This does not rule out collaboration and coordination on the Cyprus problem, he said, arguing that people expected political forces with common positions on the national issue to work together to prevent Turkish plans being implemented.
For his part, Papadopoulos said as long as the Citizens’ Alliance operates as a centrist party then he sees prospects for future cooperation.