Cyprus Mail

DIKO appointment dispute rumbles on

Presidential Commissioner for Overseas Cypriots Fotis Fotiou

By Elias Hazou

BICKERING OVER the recent cabinet reshuffle continued into the weekend, with DIKO accusing President Nicos Anastasiades of a calculated move to split the party and undermine its leadership.

In interviews with local papers, both DIKO leader Nicholas Papadopoulos and his party spokeswoman claimed the president deliberately instated DIKO-affiliated individuals to the cabinet.

Last week’s reshuffle was prompted by DIKO’s desertion of the government coalition, after the party had cited irreconcilable differences with the president’s handling of peace talks. In walking out, DIKO instructed all its members to resign from the cabinet. But all four of its ministers disobeyed orders and indicated they wished to stay on, formally breaking their ties with the party.

Anastasiades eventually reappointed Giorgos Lakkotrypis as energy minister after he quit DIKO. However the President decided against keeping the three other DIKO cadres – Fotis Fotiou (defence) Petros Petrides (health) and Kyriakos Kenevezos (education).

At the same time, however, the president appointed another card-carrying DIKO member, Marios Demetriades as communications and works minister. And Costas Kadis, known to be affiliated to DIKO, got the education portfolio.

The move was seen as a further snub to DIKO. Moreover, Anastasiades reportedly intends to give Fotiou the job of deputy government spokesman, while Kenevezos is said to have been offered the post of ambassador to Greece.

If so, Fotiou would replace current deputy spokesman Viktoras Papadopoulos, who reportedly will be shuffled over to the Office of the Commissioner for State Aid Control. Fotiou refused to be drawn on Monday when asked whether he would accept the new job, if offered.

Asked why DIKO did not have a problem with Kadis’ appointment to education, party spokeswoman Christiana Erotocritou said Kadis was not a card-carrying member and thus was under no obligation to adhere to party decisions.

The government meanwhile has been taunting DIKO to withdraw all its members from the boards of semi-governmental organisations (SGOs) if it is serious about severing ties with the administration.

Erotocritou said DIKO is prepared to do so, but on condition that the president rescinds the appointments to the cabinet of all DIKO members.

In a sarcastic dig, she went on to wonder why Anastasiades seems to feel that only DIKO people are competent to serve in the government.

“Don’t AKEL, EDEK or the Greens have successful and reputable scientists?” she said, the implication being that Anastasiades is deliberately stoking disunity among the DIKO ranks.

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