By Constantinos Psillides
THE internal strife in DIKO rages on, as party spokeswoman Christiana Erotokritou said the DIKO ministers who resigned have abandoned party voters.
“Messrs Lakkotrypis, Fotiou, Kenevezos and Petrides’ decision to abandon the party, its values and its people is of course respected. What we, here at DIKO, are focusing on now is how to deal with matters of economy and the dire developments in the Cyprus problem,” Erotkritou said, adding that their resignations didn’t surprise anyone at the party as they were expected.
The DIKO spokeswoman went a step further, saying that the party respects “all motives behind their decision”, referring of course to the speculation that the four ministers took a step back from the party so president Anastasiades could re-appoint them to their posts.
All four ministers were asked on February 22 by party leader Nicolas Papadopoulos to resign, following a decision by the party executive office to dissolve the government coalition over disagreements on the handling of the Cyprus problem by president Anastasiades, more specifically the joint communiqué.
The ministers made it clear they did not wish to comply with the party leadership, citing the need for national unity. All four didn’t hide their displeasure with the decision, accusing Papadopoulos of forcing them to resign.
They all handed in their resignation, following the rest of the ministerial cabinet. President Anastasiades asked his cabinet to stay until March 15, when he will proceed with a reshuffle.
Energy minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis resigned the party last week, while Education minister Kyriakos Kenevezos, Health minister Petros Petrides and Defence minister Fotis Fotiou all withdrew from DIKO on Monday within minutes of each other.
The three were very careful in their wording, writing that they “suspended their active participation”, a clear jab at the party leadership.
The move did not go unnoticed, with Erotokriou saying on Tuesday that the ministers used an “unprecedented terminology for the Cypriot political scene”.
The ministers didn’t respond to Erotokritou’s comments.
President Anastasiades is expected to re-appoint the popular Lakkotrypis as Energy minister but gave no clear indication on what his plans are for the other three former DIKO ministers.
The DIKO spokeswoman has made it clear over the last two weeks that re-appointing all the ministers, thus solidifying the conflict within DIKO, will be considered a hostile act by the government and will be dealt with accordingly.