DISY leader Averof Neophytou said on Sunday the issue of the party allegedly ignoring an internal vote for two election candidates and shoving them aside to suit the leadership, which caused an uproar during the week, was now closed.
Neophytou was addressing the party’s 55 hopefuls and other members at an event marking the launch of its election campaign.
“I have always been open with you all and I don’t want, nor am I going to hide from you today,” he said. Neophytou has been keeping a low profile since the the uproar began after two candidates – one of whom is a woman – ‘voluntarily withdrew’ to make way for two others who had not won an internal vote to be nominated for the May 22 elections.
In one instance, the substitute candidate Yiannakis Yiannaki withdrew and returned the nomination to Larnaca’s Annita Demetriou after party members publicly expressed their disagreement with the actions of the leadership in shoving aside nominees who had been voted for democratically, in favour of those who had not.
Neophytou acknowledged the bad impression that had been created but said the issue was now closed permanently.
“I know that during our efforts in recent days to faithfully implement our statutory provisions, mistaken impressions were created which troubled party members. I recognise the bad impression it gave but this chapter is now closed permanently,” he said.
Going on to speak about the elections, he said the party had from now until May 22 to defend our policies and ideals, which was to cement the stable outlook of the country following exit from the bailout programme, but which was “not without risk”.
“We see the same forces again that brought us to destruction, defending the same magical solutions of yesterday,” he said. “Those who gave us 70,000 unemployed blame us that unemployment is falling. Those who pushed thousands of families to social groceries dare to accuse us because today the number has drastically declined.”
Neophytou said these were the same people who wanted Cyprus to isolate itself and return to the pound and were the same ones who were pushing Cyprus last year to pursue the same policies as Greece in “tearing up the memorandum”.
“And when tearing the memorandum in Greece brought the third and worst bailout, they fell silent,” he added. “These are the same people who brought us the Troika and now they are doing everything they can to bring them back,” he added.
“We will not let them, now that the sacrifices of the people have started to pay off.”
Neophytou said the ruling party and the government would not allow a return to policies that do not respect public money and though many members of the public share the same views, he said, the still abstain from voting rather than defending their stance at the ballot box.
“Too many young people choose this way to protest because the policies of the past have sent them to unemployment but not all parties are the same,” he said. “Each vote has a direct impact on our lives and the progress of our country.”