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Our View: Can’t fool all of the troikans, all of the time

AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou

PERVERSELY, AKEL has been very honest about its plan to deceive the international lenders with regard to the privatisation of the semi-governmental organisations (SGOs). On Monday, the Greens deputy Giorgos Perdikis revealed that the communist party was planning on drafting a law proposal that, if approved, would freeze the privatisation of SGOs until 2017. The procedure for privatisations, which all the unions and opposition parties are against, is currently being put in motion.

AKEL’s deception is that its objective is not putting back privatisation, but preventing it altogether. This was mentioned on Tuesday morning by its deputy Stavros Evagorou, who did not mince his words about the party’s plan, which was to stop privatisation. So, why will the party suspend the process only until 2017? Why does it not suspend the privatisation process until 2030, given that preserving the current legal status of SGOs is its objective, instead of doing it only for two years?

We can only guess that this is just another transparent attempt at fooling the troika. By 2017 Cyprus would not be in an assistance programme and the idea of privatisation could be given up for good. But it seems terribly naive to believe that the troika could be fooled so easily, especially after what had happened with the suspension of the foreclosures law. As soon as the aid money, conditional on the approval of the foreclosures law, was paid by the troika, opposition parties suspended the law.

If the process of privatisation, which is an obligation under the memorandum of understanding, is suspended, no more money would be released by the lenders.

DISY identified another danger – failure to honour our commitments under the memorandum would extend the assistance programme. Is this what AKEL wants or does it think fooling the troika would be easy?

What is incredible is the complete disregard AKEL shows for an agreement signed by the state, giving the impression it was perfectly acceptable not to honour it. The government may have signed the memorandum by which it undertook, among other things, to privatise three SGOs but, according to AKEL, it does not have to honour its signature. In fairness, the rest of the opposition parties share this warped thinking, as they showed by suspending the foreclosures law.

What trustworthiness and credibility could the Republic have when the majority of its political parties support that it should violate agreements it had signed? All, with the notable exception of DISY, think that deceiving the other party in the agreement is perfectly acceptable. What they fail to realise is that it would be extremely difficult to fool the international lenders a second time.

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