By Angelos Anastasiou
EDEK’s central committee, the party top decision-making body, voted on Sunday to consolidate the leadership’s power by extending its authority from matters of individual campaigns for parliament to seizing 10 per cent of successful candidates’ remuneration, and banned former head of the Paphos district committee Giorgos Nikandrou from seeking re-election – or even standing for member.
Adopting proposals by leader Marinos Sizopoulos, the committee voted that the party’s successful candidates for parliament will be made to hand over 10 per cent of their salaries – as well as the lump-sum deputies receive upon the end of their terms – to the party’s coffers, by means of a standing order they will be asked to sign prior to their swearing in.
The committee also voted that unsuccessful candidates will also be utilised elsewhere within the party, according to their expertise and the number of votes each won in the election.
Candidates campaigning on EDEK’s ballot in next year’s parliamentary elections will be banned from employing the party’s mechanism in their favour, operating personal campaign centres, and engaging in “street advertising” – i.e. paying for billboard ads.
These matters will be regulated in greater detail by means of a comprehensive code of ethics to be drafted at a later date.
It was also decided that parliamentary associates will be selected by the party’s political bureau and the parliamentary team.
With regard to the crisis unfolding at the party’s Paphos district branch, the central committee voted to introduce an ad hoc body comprising members Akis Chrysomilos, Vasos Demetriou, and Socratis Socratous to administer the election of a new district committee.
The existing committee was dissolved last week, after several members resigned en masse amidst a feud between Sizopoulos and district committee chair Giorgos Nikandrou.
Elections for the new committee will be held on September 27, and the deadline for nominations has been set for September 23.
Nikandrou was deemed to have exhibited “inappropriate and indecent behaviour on many issues”, and was stripped of the right to candidacy, even for the post of committee member.
Sizopoulos, who has been the target of Nikandrou’s criticism for steering the party against a solution to the Cyprus problem based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation, claimed to have received indecent text messages and threats from Nikandrou.
However, the party’s leader proposed that Nikandrou’s rights be fully reinstated if he offers a public apology, with none forthcoming.
The committee also ratified a proposal for a fund-raising campaign from October 1 to December 31, with a collection target of €200,000.
Speaking to the Cyprus Mail, Nikandrou denied having threatened EDEK’s leader, but did acknowledge that he sent him one obscene text message, after Sizopoulos purposely avoided getting in touch with him while the Paphos committee had been in panic mode.
“We had been trying to get in touch with him for nearly three hours,” he said.
“We called him, we sent him texts, we left him voice-messages. He wouldn’t come back to us, and at some point I sent him a text that close friends might send to each other jokingly.”
According to Nikandrou’s side of the story, Sizopoulos avoided dealing with the issues at the Paphos committee deliberately, so that it would break down and he might get a chance to rid himself of the Paphos chairman.