Ruling DISY chief Averof Neophytou on Sunday urged young people to vote in the upcoming parliamentary elections because abstinence, he said, only rewarded the same practices and attitudes that led the country to the brink of disaster.
In his address at the event to mark the 40th anniversary of his party’s youth branch, NEDISY, Neophytou said that these “are extremely critical elections as the Cypriot people have two choices; the road to stability or that which takes us back”.
“Each vote has an immediate impact on our lives and on our country,” he said. He expressed the conviction that youth could contribute to “bring better days and create better conditions for generations to come”.
Despite the fact that not all problems have been solved, he added, the economy had been stabilised and this had “started to bear fruit”.
As regards the reluctance of youth to vote, he said: “They recognise the existence of problems such as youth unemployment and uncertainty for families who find it difficult in making ends meet”.
Neophytou said their frustration was justified as they were among those most hit by the economic crisis.
“It is our duty to explain […] that if they choose abstinence, it only rewards the choices that have destroyed them,” he said.
The main opposition left-wing AKEL, he said, wanted to restore old policies, and as for the new political parties, “the only new thing about them is that their leaders have served with, and being accommodated [in the past] by all of the traditional parties”.
AKEL, he added was calling for a vote to restore the policies of the previous five years while the latter group of parties wanted to hinder any attempt at reform.
Neophytou said: “All they want is a parliament that would lead to anarchy.”
He put it to young voters whether they would opt for the continuation of stable progress, or for “a setback endangering the credibility of the country and the sacrifices of the people”.
The government and political parties had expressed concerns about voter apathy among the young, after it emerged earlier in the year that only 2,850 of the 37,000 who were eligible to be issued an election booklet had registered as new voters. During the same period, ahead of the 2011 parliamentary elections, 14,835 youths had registered.
According to a survey conducted by the Cyprus Institute of Statisticians, 77 per cent in the 18-35 age group said they would not vote, the majority of whom, gave as their reasons that they did not trust political parties, and that politicians lie.