By Angelos Anastasiou
Amid celebrations of their successful bid for a seat in the European Parliament, Cyprus’ six MEPs on Sunday pledged to work tirelessly for the benefit of the electorate.
Returning DISY MEP Eleni Theocharous, now the only female among the Cypriot group following Antigoni Papadopoulou’s narrow defeat, expressed the determination to live up to the voters’ expectations and acknowledged her second mandate as a further duty.
“I hope I can meet the people’s expectations and can promise to always work towards furthering their best interests,” she said. “My re-election burdens me with additional responsibility, which I will try to live up to.”
The Cyprus problem and revitalising the economy were the focus of the short speech by the second returning MEP, AKEL’s Takis Hadjigeorgiou. He stressed the urgency for a solution to the island’s division and hinted at resisting EU policies towards indebted countries.
“We will work hard to assuage the Cypriot people’s concerns and predicaments, and look hard for any chance of solving the Cyprus problem in order to lift the rock that has hindered their breathing for so many decades,” he said. “We will also struggle within the EU against the policies that have led the European south to today’s dire state.”
Newly-elected MEP and former minister Neoklis Silikiotis echoed his fellow AKEL member’s priorities but also introduced a touch of party patriotism to his speech.
“We are happy because the Left has a stronger presence in the Europarliament,” he said. “AKEL has received the messages of this election, we will press on with the changes we have initiated and fight hard in defence of Cyprus and the rest of Europe’s ordinary citizens.”
DIKO dark horse Kostas Mavrides – who ousted incumbent and clear favourite for re-election Antigoni Papadopoulou in a fierce battle – capitalised on the newfound prominence his credentials as a respected economist offered him and clinched a spot, and stressed his Kyrenian roots as evidence of a higher duty to focus on the fight to solve the Cyprus problem
“Each of the six of us [DIKO candidates] could represent the party and Cyprus equally well,” he said. “As a Kyrenian, and a candidate honoured by the vote of so many fellow Kyrenians, I have an obligation to defend what [occupied] Kyrenia stands for, namely the never-ending struggle for freedom and return.”
Another close winner was Yiorgos Papadakis, who ran on the joint ticket of socialist EDEK and the Greens. His race with the Greens’ Yiorgos Perdikis was at some point too close to call, but Papadakis pulled ahead in the end. He acknowledged the nailbiter and pledged to fight for Cyprus.
“We endured a thriller, but the truly hard work starts tomorrow,” he said. “We will do our best for Cyprus.”
The sixth Cypriot MEP, DISY’s Christos Stylianides – who also awaited the last few ballots to determine the outcome of his race with Lefteris Christoforou for DISY’s second spot – was the only one to refrain from any statements following his election.
By Angelos Anastasiou