By Loucas Charalambous
I recently wrote about the disheartening predicament of DISY, the party that was founded two years after the catastrophe of 1974 to fight demagoguery, end the political schizophrenia that dominated life (as it does now) and introduce rationality and caution so Cyprus could accept a solution that would have salvaged whatever was possible in the wake of the unprecedented tragedy.
The reason I had brought up the matter was the provocative behaviour of three deputies, all of whom had shown contempt for the law in different ways, and made the party the target of criticism and ridicule.
Just a few weeks later, an infuriating statement by another ornament of the party, Chris Triantafyllides, sadly confirmed the picture of ideological disintegration displayed today by DISY and my view that the current leader is tragically incapable of imposing order. I use the term ‘ornament’ to refer to those strange characters who – while having nothing to do with DISY and its ideology – found themselves unexpectedly in the party salon like some decorative plants. They were brought there – in through the window – by Nicos Anastasiades as part of his tactical manoeuvring that I have mentioned many times.
In 2001, he brought Eleni Theocharous into the party, and, in the same way, he brought in Christos Clerides and others a few years later. They not only had nothing to do with DISY’s philosophy, as shaped by Glafcos Clerides in 1976, but were harsh critics of it. Within the framework of these tactical manoeuvrings, he assigned the talks’ process to people who never believed nor wanted a solution to our national problem, like the trio he brought in from the foreign ministry and has sitting next to him at the negotiating table during his meetings with Mustafa Akinci.
Similar people have been appointed to the many committees he has set up. Committees and ornamental politicians are the president’s favourite hobbies. The fact that Triantafyllides, a man whose views do not differ from those of Nicholas Papadopoulos and Lazaros Mavros, was appointed DISY’s representative to the talks is indicative of Anastasiades’ intentions and of the lamentable predicament of the party.
The impudent statement by Triantafyllides, that in Davos Anastasiades lost resoundingly (Triantafyllides claimed that by meeting Akinci, he had downgraded himself and upgraded the Turkish Cypriot leader) was the comeuppance the president deserved, just as he deserved it from Theocharous. He should have known that tactical manoeuvrings have a cost.
But the behaviour of the DISY chief Averof Neophytou was no better. Instead of kicking Triantafyllides out of the party he asked, according to press reports, officials who planned to raise the issue at a party meeting to keep quiet as those that were out of line would be judged by society, and therefore there was no need “for the party to shoot itself in the foot.”
And he does not understand that by turning the party into a “free for all”, in which everyone does as he pleases and acts on his whims, will shoot the party in the head and offends the intelligence of all those serious people who still support it. Because, if every rabble-rouser is permitted to be in DISY and yet support the views of Papadopoulos and Lillikas, what is the need of such a party? It would be better to close it down and everyone could be free to say and do whatever they like and we would wait for society to judge them.
By the same logic, if any deputy commits a crime, Neophytou would keep him in his position and tell us that society will judge. The sad thing is that Neophytou is no different from Anastasiades. He is now preparing to bring his own ornaments into the party, the first one being the former energy chief Solon Kasinis, whose views are no different from those of Eleni Theocharous. Regrettably, this is how much seriousness the once serious party has left.