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Election choice will be a vote between old ways and new ways, says DISY chief

DISY leader Averof Neophytou speaks to reporters after an internal party vote on Sunday

Ruling DISY boss Averof Neophytou said on Sunday the parliamentary elections were criticial to the development of the country, as party members voted throughout the day to choose candidates for the May 22 ballot.

“Society on May 22 will make the choice of whether the country should continue its stable outlook that will lead us to economic recovery, to solve the problems of unemployment and other problems of the real economy, or whether we will choose old practices and old policies,” Neophytou said.

He was speaking after casting his own vote at the party headquarters in Nicosia, and pointing out that DISY was the only party where members could vote to elect candidates that would represent it in the elections. The voting ended at 7pm.

“A strong DISY automatically mean the strong government that this country needs not only in matters of the economy but also in the effort to reunite our divided homeland,” he said.

Asked about the number of young people turning their backs on the political system, Neophytou said it was hard to blame them because for decades the system was only there to serve party clientele “leading to a fictitious prosperity” that had sacrificed the future of the younger generation who were ow experiencing unprecedented unemployment levels.

“Although we know that some of our positions will have a temporary political cost we prefer this than reinstating policies that come from the pocket of the taxpayer,” Neophytou said.

These were the types of policies that led the country to ruin, he added. “We have to change… to change Cyprus… but first by changing attitudes… and now that the troika has left our level of responsibility is being tried and tested every day.”

Referring to statements by the opposition parties that the island’s recovery is fictitious and exists only on paper while the public is still suffering, Neophytou asked whether they would prefer to return to the misery of knowing the country was discredited, blocked by international markets, taking the last cent from pension funds, “and one step away from bankruptcy”.

“We said that we have not solved all the problems,” Neophytou said but added that neither could the fact that the sacrifices made be dismissed given Cyprus’ success in exiting the memorandum.

“Those who criticise are those who led us to the memorandum,” he added, referring to the AKEL government under Demetris Christofias.

“They are the ones who received a strong economy with unemployment at 3.5% and yet they delivered a country in bankruptcy with unemployment at 16%. A little self-criticism would not hurt them.”

Asked to comment on investigations into ongoing scandals, Neophytou said people should not look at things either through “rose-coloured or black-coloured glasses”. Scandals have always been around, he said but Cyprus was now going through a period when “society does not tolerate cover-ups”.

When there were scandals at other times in the past, “because of the fictitious prosperity everyone was happy, no one complained and there was no outrage”.

“The fact is that since the founding of the Republic this is the only period where scandals are reaching the courts whether they involve well-known people, politicians or other officials,” he said.

“This should be credited to the government and independent institutions such as the attorney-general’s office, the police and the auditor-general,” Neophytou added. He said more such cases were likely to come to light.

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