By Loucas Charalambous
IN TWO comments I wrote earlier in the year about the behaviour of DISY deputies Andreas Themistocleous and Evgenios Hamboullas, as well as the infuriating statement by party advisor Christos Triantafyllides about Davos, I had referred to the sorry state of DISY under the leadership of Averof Neophytou, who – I am not exaggerating – has turned the party into a pantomime. A day rarely goes by without Neophytou doing something absurd to reinforce my view. Last week he turned the procedure for selecting the candidates for the parliamentary elections into a farce.
The mayor of Paphos Phedonas Phedonos made a statement in which he said that in the period preceded the awarding of the contract for Koshi landfill, then president Tassos Papadopoulos had secret meetings with the Georgios Bombolas, the owner of Helector, the company that was chosen for the job. He has gone to the police with this information.
While it was understandable why Nicolas Papadopoulos should launch a rabid attack on the mayor, Neophytou’s reasons for also doing so are unknown. Yet he used more or less the same language as the DIKO leader saying: “DISY does not adopt insinuations, statements or any vileness, whoever utters them and at whomever they are directed. On this I am absolute and clear.”
He immediately rushed to act as Papadopoulos’ advocate (why, I wonder) and Phedonos’ judge. He could have said: “I heard what the mayor said, but I think it is better on such matters for public statements to be avoided and anyone with information should give it to the authorities to investigate.”
This would have been a sensible statement and nobody would have accused him of being mistaken or of taking sides. Instead, he dressed himself as a judge and in no time concluded that Papadopoulos had done nothing wrong and everything the mayor said was vile. I am very curious to see what he will say if it turns out that Papadopoulos had met Bombolas.
He displayed similarly bizarre behaviour with regard to the compilation of the party’s ballot paper, on which his political impudence was beyond the pale. On Sunday morning he was boasting in front of the TV cameras about DISY’s democratic procedures.
“This procedure for DISY is a festival of democracy; we are the only party whose members have the right to select the candidates for the parliamentary elections,” he said, barely able to conceal his narcissistic demeanour. Two days later he messed it all up.
At Tuesday’s meeting of the political bureau he forgot members, democratic procedures and ‘festivals of democracy’. He completely ignored the results of the selection procedure and, in effect, forced four candidates that had been selected to withdraw, so he could impose the people he wanted as candidates.
His most disgraceful act was to force out a candidate that was elected by the members of the party in Nicosia so that he could include deputy Rikkos Mappourides on the ballot paper. For those who know, it was no accident that the members had not selected Mappourides originally. This was the apex of the ‘festival of democracy’.
With this shameful behaviour Neophytou showed his true colours and justified the view of his detractors who believe it is a depressing low for DISY to have such a man as its leader. Neophytou should be aware that by including Mappourides – from whom he seems to be no different – in the ballot paper he is responsible for everything that this decision implies.
I write this because I am certain that it will not be long before he bitterly regrets this disgraceful decision. Just as the time will come when he understands that he cannot simultaneously be the leader of DISY, Papadopoulos’ advocate, the self-declared judge of the rubbish scandal and the magician of the ballot papers.