Cyprus Mail

AKEL leader enters race for coveted post of House Speaker

AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou (second left) announcing that he intends to stand as House president (Christos Theodorides)

Main opposition AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou on Monday threw his hat in the ring in the race for House Speaker, bringing to four the contenders for the coveted position.
In a statement, AKEL’s central committee said that in their ongoing deliberations with the other parties, “we maintain as an option the candidacy of…Andros Kyprianou.”
Despite talking of ‘deliberations’, the communist party reiterated that it would not engage in horse-trading with the other parties.
The final decision on the issue of House Speaker would be taken by the party’s political bureau, the statement added.
Kyprianou now joins EDEK’s Marinos Sizopoulos – backed by DIKO – the Solidarity Movement’s Demetris Syllouris – who is hoping for support from ruling DISY, and the Greens’ George Perdikis.
The new House Speaker will be elected this Thursday, along with the swearing-in of the new parliament.
But with just three days to go, the situation is no clearer than it was a week ago.
The so-called parties of the centre – DIKO, EDEK, the Citizens Alliance, the Solidarity Movement and the Greens-Citizens Cooperation can muster 20 votes, easily outstripping those of either Kyprianou (16) or DISY’s Averof Neophytou (18) should it come down to a plurality vote.
DIKO again made it clear on Monday that it would not back a candidate from either DISY or AKEL, stressing that the new House Speaker must come from the ‘centre’. DIKO itself is not in the running for the position.
But its support of EDEK’s Sizopoulos has so far failed to gather momentum. Monday’s meeting between Sizopoulos and Giorgos Lillikas, leader of the Citizens Alliance, produced no outcome.
Lillikas is also thought to be interested in the job.
Asked by reporters whether his party might back AKEL’s candidate, Lillikas said no.
And in response to a journalist’s observation that time is running out, Sizopoulos said that “deliberations might continue right up to the moment the plenum convenes to elect its Speaker.”
That seems the most likely scenario.
Meanwhile DISY leader Averof Neophytou has kept his cards close to his chest. The party has not indicated whether it will nominate Neophytou or another party cadre.
DISY is in somewhat of a quandary, having failed to persuade AKEL to split the term of the House Speaker between the two parties – a practice followed by the two biggest groupings of the European Parliament – the European People’s Party and the Socialist Party.
With its overture to AKEL, the ruling party sought to neutralise the ‘centrist’ parties’, which made substantial gains in the recent legislative elections at the expense of both DISY and AKEL.
An alliance with AKEL would have negated the need for DISY to rely on the smaller parties for the nomination, which is the first test of the new power balance in the House.
DISY is also keen to foil a victory for the ‘centrist’ parties, keenly aware that success for these parties in the election of a House Speaker might crystallise their collaboration, with implications for the 2018 presidential elections.
At the same time, the ruling party does not want to burn its bridges with DIKO – which backs Sizopoulos’ candidacy – as they will need DIKO votes to push through vital items of legislation, such as on public sector reform.
Reports said that even President Nicos Anastasiades stepped into the fray. During a meeting with AKEL’s Kyprianou over the weekend – ostensibly held to discuss what happened at the World Humanitarian Summit the previous week – Anastasiades appealed to Kyprianou to consider DISY’s shared-term proposal to AKEL, but to no avail.
DISY was expected on Tuesday to make its final decision on the matter of the House Speaker.
According to parliamentary regulations, a vote is held for House Speaker where the winner requires an absolute majority, or at least half the votes cast. Where an absolute majority is not possible, the House Speaker is elected by relative majority or a plurality of votes.

Related posts

Audit boss says authorities should have looked harder into citizenship applicants

Staff Reporter

Coronavirus: ‘no need to suspend football league’ for now

Jonathan Shkurko

Municipal workers strike over delay in reforms

Annette Chrysostomou

Auditor-general being sued by ousted former commissioner

George Psyllides

New roadworks around the capital (Updated)

Staff Reporter

Drunken passenger arrested at Paphos airport

Staff Reporter


Comments are closed.