Cyprus Mail

DIKO and AKEL closer to forging opposition alliance

AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou and DIKO president Nicolas Papadopoulos believe that the Memorandum of Understanding can be renegotiated

By Constantinos Psillides

AKEL general secretary Andros Kyprianou and DIKO leader Nicolas Papadopoulos yesterday discussed the prospect of collaborating in an “anti-memorandum front,” as well as working together at a parliamentary level.

Following an hour-long meeting at DIKO headquarters in Nicosia, the two party leaders told the press that they have arranged for representatives from both sides to meet at a later date to discuss current issues in detail, so as to make joint suggestions to the National Council regarding the Cyprus problem.

Asked whether both leaders will invite others to join an “anti-memorandum front”, Kyprianou said that the press should not jump to conclusions.

“Political forces have a duty to strive and give convincing and effective answers to the problems we are facing as country. As to forming a united front, that will show in the future, depending on how things move from now on,” said Kyprianou.

Papadopoulos said that his party is open to discussion with every political party.

“Our differences with AKEL are widely known, but on some issues we see eye-to-eye. It is on those issues that we will focus at a parliamentary level and act as a catalyst for the solution of current issues and the Cyprus problem.

Kyprianou also admitted that both parties are far apart when it comes to the Cyprus problem and the economy, but said there are a number of other issues they can agree on and work together.

Asked to comment how they plan to work together since their positions on the economy are so far apart, Papadopoulos said that like AKEL, they believe that the Memorandum of Understanding can be renegotiated.

The two leaders also discussed a recent initiative launched by the ruling DISY for sweeping electoral reform, including increasing the electoral bar from the 1.8 per cent that it is today.

“The only way to deal with voter apathy is by solving problems people are facing and choosing the right policies, not formulas and mathematical equations,” said Kyprianou, adding that his party is ready to discuss electoral reform that aims at making the House more efficient and flexible.

Press reports on Monday suggested that during a recent meeting with Kyprianou, ruling DISY leader Averof Neofytou proposed a broad electoral reform, including in absentia voting and raising the electoral bar. Reports suggested that DISY wanted the bar set at 5 per cent, but Averof and party spokesperson Prodromos Prodromou both rejected that claim.

Raising the electoral thershold would bar entry to the smaller parties – EVROKO and the Greens – along with the ultra-nationalist ELAM and Message of Hope that got more than the 1.8 per cent required in the recent euro elections.

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