Cyprus Mail

‘We are not afraid’

File photo Solidarity's Eleni Theocharous meeting President Anastasiades

Electioneering on Tuesday focused on everything from the Panama Papers to the Cyprus issue to unemployment and the latest scandal, which involves the health sector, though most of the statements were predictably lacklustre except for a few volleys Solidarity’s Eleni Theocharous fired at DISY boss Averof Neophytou about sheep.

Theocharous, in a statement, said her party had been the subject of “particularly scurrilous attacks” in recent days by Neophytou, who she implied knew nothing about democracy. She accused both DISY and AKEL, the two biggest parties, of trying to silence the smaller ones but, she said, they would not succeed.

“It will become a boomerang that will hit them both.”

“He [Neophytou] needs to stop harassing small parties with his statements. We are not afraid. The people are not afraid, not frightened, not coerced, not sheep that they want to corral,” Theocharous said.

“They are people with backbone, with brains that think, who understand the machinations of Mr Averof and all like him who hold anti-democratic beliefs.”

She pledged that on May 22 hers and parties like it would overturn the corrupt system in Cyprus.

The Greens also focused on corruption, saying the case of the arrested doctors for alleged graft was just the beginning of an endless chain of scandals in the health sector that included travel approvals without oversight payments without authorisation, kickbacks, envelopes and abuses. The party also mentioned the Helector waste scandal and the Panama Papers in its anti-corruption rant. “Society cannot afford more corruption,” it said.

“The parties should contribute to end corruption but it’s probably not in their interest, since they prefer silence than answering our question of who is going to put a stop to this.”

The party also had a go at Turkish Cypriot ‘deputy prime minister’ Serdar Denktash for suggesting that Greek Cypriots, as part of a solution, should pay the north’s debt to Turkey to make up for keeping the Turkish Cypriots in isolation.

AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou also commented on this saying it would have been surprising if Denktash had said something different.

“He is a true son of his father,” said Kyprianou.

The AKEL leader’s other concern on Tuesday was long-term unemployment.

He said that in 2015 the percentage of people who were unemployed for more than six months rose to 63.4% of the total jobless, or 40,412 people.

“This figure places us in fifth worst place in the European Union,” he said.

“But to address a problem, it must first be recognised. Here lies the problem with the Anastasiades government. They refuse to see that there is a problem with the long-term unemployed. They insist on living in their own world, with the illusion that the long-term unemployed are few or completely satisfied with the crumbs of the Guaranteed Minimum Income. He said AKEL was proposing increasing the unemployment payment period of six months to nine, among other proposals.

DIKO leader Nicolas Papadopoulos was on Tuesday also on the rampage over Serdar Denktash, saying Turkey should pay for the cost of the occupation. He also had a go over the rejection of the bill to allow those who owe social insurance to the state to pay in 60 installments. “The Democratic Party does not want to see our fellow citizens to go to prison for debts to the state,” he said. “Unfortunately it seems that the DISY government disagrees and is hiding behind legalism. What is the point of wanting to send someone to jail if they are going to pay in 60 installments instead of 40?”

EDEK leader Marinos Sizopoulos had a go about the Panama Papers, asking why it was taking so long to investigate the Cypriot connections and also had a dig at the president over the lack of a National Council meeting prior to the elections, and spoke of the “contradictory attitudes of the presidential palace, which are endless.”

The Citizens Alliance also fired a volley at the palace over the Cyprus issue but seemed more concerned that deputy government spokes Victoras Papadopoulos might have suddenly become a mouthpiece for the DISY party after it claimed Neophytou had refused to debate its party leader Giorgos Lillikas. The party asked why the response had come from the palace and not from DISY.

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