By Angelos Anastasiou
DISY leader Averof Neophytou’s refusal to comment on last week’s departure of MEP Eleni Theocharous from the party did little to prevent a row, as the man who would replace her at the European Parliament if she were to vacate the seat, Stavros Zenios, unleashed a scathing attack on her, to which she quickly retaliated.
Zenios posted on his personal blog a critique of Theocharous’ arguments for keeping her seat, despite having left the party with which she won it. He tried to argue that she was right to keep it, but then went on to attack her on every other issue.
“The honourable Mrs Europarliamentarian, despite her experience in many areas of the Cypriot political system, does not seem to realise where her moral ground for retaining the seat comes from,” Zenios wrote, referring to Theocharous’ assertion that leaving the post would mean that a man with opposing views on the Cyprus problem would replace her, having won “one-fifth” of the votes she won.
“She could have argued that an elected representative answers to the voters, not the party. She could have cited precedent from the Cypriot parliament (e.g. Mr Koulias).”
Zenios was referring to former DIKO MP Zacharias Koulias, who was expelled from his party but retains his seat in parliament as an independent.
“Instead, she opted to justify her decision with false and offensive references to a fellow candidate of hers,” he charged.
“This reveals not the political morality that could convince us that we are before a principled decision, but the circumstantial decision of a professional politician that goes drunk on the crowd’s cheers.”
He argued that Theocharous’ assertion that her views are “at odds” with those of Zenios is false, and went on to list a series of positions he has held publicly, though these related to local politics, while Theocharous referred explicitly to her views on the Cyprus problem.
He also fired a barb regarding her political record in various parties – “you were in EDEK, DIKO, and DISY” – and her refusal to name Zenios when speaking of him, when she repeatedly referred to him as “the man who would replace me”.
“If this is the Solidarity you envision, my concern for the country does not allow me to wish you good luck, as common courtesy demands,” Zenios said, in another barb about her plans to create a new political movement named Solidarity.
Hours later, Theocharous replied to the attack in a combative and sarcastic Facebook post.
“You are right Professor Zenios, about the number of votes you won,” she started.
“You didn’t get one-fifth of the ones I won, I was wrong. You got 40,000 less.”
She claimed President Nicos Anastasiades offered her a seat on his cabinet three months ago. Theocharous, a doctor, was likely referring to the health ministry.
“The Honourable Europarliamentarian is honourable enough to not need morality lessons,” she wrote to Zenios.
“And if I were such a scoundrel, as you imply, the incumbent President of the Republic would not have offered me the post of minister three months ago. Which I was sad to turn down, because I could have given to my country from a post I am fully familiar with. But I did, so that I could be consistent with my political morality, which you mock.”
A little over three months ago, Giorgos Pamboridis was appointed to the health ministry.
Theocharous went on to accuse Zenios of “constantly flirting with power” in a bid to be appointed to a post by the government.
“It is obvious that you are after a spot on the ballot in May’s parliamentary elections – if they ever happen – or the cabinet, or the Central Bank,” she said.
“But I have no desire to help you in your endeavour by engaging in dialogue with you. Good luck at the post of Central Banker you so desperately seek. Or wherever else you get appointed.”