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Opinion Tales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: A celebration of apathy

LAST Sunday’s ‘celebration of democracy’ – the way our politicians and hacks like to refer to elections – turned out to be a celebration of apathy as one third of voters did not bother showing up at the polling stations, thus recording the lowest turn-out ever for parliamentary elections in Kyproulla.

Do not expect to read any prescient explanations about why so many people snubbed the elections here. I tried to conduct a mini-survey among our establishment’s customers to establish if there was an overriding reason for the low turn-out, but gave up after receiving five completely different answers from five respondents.

My question was, ‘Why did you not vote today’ and I got the following responses from my rather small sample. Twenty per cent said, ‘I do not vote for morons’, one fifth said ‘I took my kids to the beach,’ 20 per cent responded that ‘I could not find my ID card or election book’, 20 per cent said ‘I completely forgot’, and the remaining fifth said ‘I did vote’.

With an 80 per cent abstention rate, I realised that my sample was not representative and the margin of error was very close to 100 per cent, so I decided to call a premature end to my career as a pollster, stop looking for any political trends and stick to what I know – writing random nonsense about the elections.

GENERAL campaigns appeared to have been the most successful. The expat Cypriot who had funded an advertising campaign urging people to vote for new faces, turned out to be the big winner of the elections as almost half the candidates – 27 to be precise – elected were not serving in the old parliament. Three of them were not novice deputies as they had served in previous parliaments.

Another positive of this election was that the number lawyers fell drastically. Of the 27 new deputies only four were lawyers, two were TV hacks, but there was an increase in economists, marketing people and business administration guys. How many of them also belong to the biggest grouping of the House – that of the fruitcakes and nut-cases – only time will show. Ten seem very promising, but it would be wrong to pre-judge.

Another general campaign – for more women in the House – was also successful. The representation of women has doubled, 20 per cent of new deputies are now unable to urinate, standing up. Even more impressive was that the highest number of preference votes was amassed by AKEL’s feisty feminist Irini Charalambidou who is not even a DNA Akelite. Second was another woman – DISY’s do-gooder Stella Kyriakidou.

RECORD number of new deputies, double the number of women and the fewest lawyers ever are not the only positives. EDEK’s super-arrogant, morally superior chief Dr Sizo saw his party’s seats reduced from five to three, a reflection of his blundering leadership. Was this because Sizo had decided to renounce bi-zonal, bi-communal federation and back partition?

But the biggest and most enjoyable humiliation was suffered by the commies who saw their share of the vote slide by 7 percentage points and lost three seats. Comrade Andros was not a happy bunny talking about the result on radio, even mentioning the ‘C’ word in analysing the defeat. Akelites were on strict instructions never to mention Christofias during the campaign, but with Andros needing someone to blame for his defeat, he decided it was time to bring up the Tof presidency and Mari.

It was not very nice of him, considering it was with the Tof’s backing that he became party boss, defeating his much smarter rival. The nice but dim comrade has shown a mean streak nobody thought he had and now he wants to be House president, confident that if a village idiot could do the job so could he.

DISY also got shafted suffering a fall of nearly four percentage points and a loss of two seats. What was even more astonishing was that its smartest and most articulate candidate for Nicosia, party spokesman Prodromos Prodromou – one of the few neo-liberals in the party – failed to get elected which says a lot about the judgment of DISY voters. It also reinforces my theory that 90 per cent of DISY voters are Akelites without realising it.

They elected instead Solon Kassinis the hot-air merchant who has been telling us we would find billions of trillions of cubic feet on natural gas in our EEZ, based on his gut instinct.

As Winston Churchill once said, “the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

THE ALLIANCE of Lillikas won three seats, but I am sure the blindly ambitious Paphite would have been very disappointed with the 6 per cent his personal vehicle took as he had been hoping for a double figure percentage.

Apart from ‘clean-hands’ Lillikas, his party also elected Mega TV presenter and political preacher Pavlos Mylonas, a right-wing nationalist who could have easily stood for ELAM. The third candidate elected was economist Anna Theologou, who often appeared on Mylonas’s TV show, as an economics analyst of, admittedly, little substance.

The power of TV seems to have played a bigger part in the Alliance’s success than Yiorkos’ dubious promises about helping us rediscover our lost dignity and putting the smile back on our faces.

THE MAN who could have put the smile back on our faces if he was elected, ‘legalise cannabis’ campaigner Giorgos Christoforou, did not do very well, probably because the majority of his supporters were too stoned to go to polling stations. You just can’t rely on pot-heads to show up on time. A regular called on Monday to say I had not mentioned the best song relating to cannabis in last week’s Coffeeshop. He was referring to Bob Dylan’s classic word play in Rainy Day Women which insists that “everybody must get stoned.” I apologise for the omission and I hope Christoforou will forgive me.

NO ELECTION analyst spotted what I am about to reveal. Three of the candidates elected were named Giorgos Georgiou, two belonging to AKEL and one to DISY, but they stood in different districts. Eight deputies have the same surname as christian name, and five of them belong to AKEL. In Limassol alone, three of the four Akelites elected belong to this category – Giorgos Georgiou, Kostas Kosta and Adamos Adamou. The commies also have Stefanos Stefanou.

BY FAR and away the biggest victors of the elections were the Eurococks, whose party does not even exist anymore, having been absorbed by Dr Theocharous’ presidential election vehicle, the Solidarity Movement, which impressively won three seats. All went to former Eurococks, after Theocharous decided to give up the seat she won in Limassol, because she decided to remain a MEP.

Talk about fighting an election on false pretences. She set up a party to secure representation in Cyprus parliament, so that she could protect us from a sell-out to the Turks by Prez Nik and clean up corruption. She used her face on every party billboard to win votes and as soon as she was elected she announced she would be abandoning the sinking ship and pissing off back to Brussels.

Of course, she was not doing this because MEPs are paid two to three times as much as a Cypriot deputy, but because she felt it was her patriotic duty to do so. As she explained in response to fierce criticism about her decision on social media, she had to be at the European Parliament “mainly because the battle of Cyprus will take place there in the next year and of course our voice must be heard.” Nobody does BS better than the future liberator of Kyrenia/

TO SILENCE the cynics who claimed she was going back for the money, she announced that she would donate one third of her earnings as MEP for the employment of out of work youths. “I cannot say all my salary because the remaining two thirds go towards my loan. And I do not have loans on favourable terms.”

She just couldn’t resist plugging her moral superiority – she did not have loans on favourable terms, as if the rest of the population does. But even she gave up one third of her salary, with expense etc she would still be earning more as MEP than Cyprus deputy. And she did not mention the three state pensions she collects, totalling €4,600 per month.

Perhaps by staying at the European Parliament until the end of its term she would be eligible to a fourth pension. It would be well deserved for the heroism and bravery, I am certain she would display, in the battle of Cyprus that would be raging in the European Parliament over the next year. Knowing that the tenacious Dr Eleni will be fighting for us I will sleep a lot easier at night.

DR ELENI also resorted to being economical with the truth in defending fooling the voters. She claimed all Solidarity voters knew she would be returning to the European Parliament and that she had mentioned “this intention at least 25 times on many radio and television discussions and interviews.” How come whenever I heard her she refused to say what she would do?

In fact in early May she told a TV interviewer on Antenna that she would announce her decision before the elections, which she never did once, let alone 25 times. How could she have? Would she have said ‘vote for me as I have no intention of representing you in the House’.

On Friday a constitutional point raise by a lawyer who wrote to the Registrar of Elections argued that she could not give her seat to another candidate as she had not been sworn in as a deputy (this will happen on Thursday). But to be sworn in she was legally obliged to surrender her seat in the European Parliament. His argument was shot down at lighting speed by the election service through the interior ministry yesterday. It had sought the advice of the AG, it said, and before you could say Strasbourg, Costas Clerides ruled the seat could go to the next in line at Solidarity but no explanation was given.

Then again, morally superior, super-patriots like Dr Eleni, who have sacrificed their life for the public good, should not have to worry about the constitution.

PREZ NIK lost his rag big-time in Istanbul when he was informed that the scheming Turks had arranged for his pal Mustafa to attend the dinner hosted by President Erdogan for heads of state and government attending the UN World Humanitarian Summit.

He was told the news by the sneaky Espen Barth Eide whom he held responsible for the outrage. Smoke must have come out of his ears when he heard that Eide had also arranged for Mustafa to meet Ban Ki-moon on the sidelines of the dinner and decided he had go on the offensive. The theatre worked, as even the hard-liners in Kyproulla applauded his tough stance which amounted to nothing.

In effect he sulked, telling the UN ‘I am not playing any more’ (he announced he would not meet Eide last Thursday and not attend last Friday’s scheduled meeting with Akinci). After a bit of sweet-talking by Ban he forgot the upgrading of the pseudo-state, stopped sulking and said he would go out to play again.

THIS FARCE, labelled a “crisis” by the media, livened up the phlegmatic government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides. I have never before heard him talking with such intensity and passion about anything. The Istanbul “crisis” made him come alive because he was able to do the work he had been trained to do as a long-serving foreign ministry employee – take a hard-line, bad mouth the UN, identify dangers of upgrading of the north and generally poison the climate between the two sides. When he has to defend progress in the talks, answer the criticism of the hard-liners or talk positively he just rambles on aimlessly, saying nothing and putting us all to sleep. As I have said in the past, you can take the man out of the foreign ministry, but you cannot take the foreign ministry out of the man.

AFTER the government’s attack on Eide I expected the parties to start demanding his immediate replacement but I was rather disappointed as only one party raised this issue – EDEK. The rest of our bash patriots showed untypical restraint, which was rather surprising, given they all agreed that the Special Adviser had been “provocative and unacceptable”. Surely this made him unfit to run the talks.



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