By Loucas Charalambous
For some time now, there has been an anomaly in DISY that angers people like myself who were involved from the start in setting up a party which had arrived to cause a revolution (under the circumstances of the time) in the political life of the country.
This might sound excessive today, particularly to those who were not been around at that time. But if they asked, they would be informed that such repugnant acts like those involving deputies Evgenios Hamboulas and Andreas Themistocleous were inconceivable at the time. I am not claiming that everything was perfect then, but there was certainly not so much accumulated political filth nor such glaring disorder.
DISY, when it was established, represented the will of the most responsible section of Cyprus society. In the sea of political paranoia and boundless demagoguery that prevailed at the time in relation to tackling the 1974 catastrophe, DISY arrived like a rescue boat in which travelled the hope for the demise of political insanity.
The sensible and pragmatic discourse of party founder Glafcos Clerides with regard to the handling of the national disaster we had suffered succeeded in attracting most serious and responsible citizens to the party. It was no coincidence that just a few months after its establishment in 1976, facing relentless attacks from the rest of the parties that had united in a ‘popular front’ under the auspices of Makarios, it still managed to attract almost a third of the population under its wing.
I am not claiming – I repeat – that DISY did not have its weak points. But nobody could dispute that the overall picture transmitted by the party back then was one of political good sense, realism, responsibility and seriousness.
Everyone, therefore, who experienced this politically prudent party will inevitably and quite rightly wonder what place people like Hamboullas and Themistocleous have in it. Their presence alone ridicules and humiliates everyone associated with DISY.
How is it possible that deputies of the supposedly most serious party are violating the laws they vote for with such impudence, and also have the audacity to advertise their vile behaviour? Hamboullas was eating ambelopoulia and posted a picture to advertise his illegal act.
Themistocleous, meanwhile, has been repeatedly stopped by police on the highways driving at speeds of 170kph and instead of hiding from shame – because as a lawmaker he was setting the worst possible example to the public by showing such disregard for the law – he had the nerve to have a go at the policeman who stopped him, threatening to “talk to the chief about him” and asking “who told you that you can report a deputy?”
Incredible stuff – for his offence, the law even envisaged a prison sentence. The attorney-general, instead of making statements to the media should have taken all the measures for sending him to court, including the lifting of the parliamentary immunity which Themistocleous is obviously abusing.
The worst of all is that this unheard of behaviour was not only tolerated by but in effect encouraged by the leadership of the party. It issued a laughable announcement about its deputies’ antics which said “everyone is judged by his positions and takes responsibility for his actions.”
If this is the case, then why is there a party? So that everyone can do as he pleases? Is it acceptable for deputies to break the law in broad daylight, advertise their illegalities and for the party leadership to stay silent instead of kicking them out of the party? Is this what has become of the party which was established 40 years ago to introduce political ethics to the country?
If the current DISY leader is in no position to comprehend these very simple things and shoulder even a small part of old prestige enjoyed by the party, by cleaning up the unbearable stench, he should find the courage to step down himself, in the hope that someone else will be found with the guts to pick up a broom.