Cyprus Mail
CM Regular ColumnistOpinion

House presidency vote a classic example of theatre of the absurd

House pressident Demetris Syllouris

By Loucas Charalambous

HOW the political parties and politicians acted over the elections for House president 10 days ago confirmed yet again the view that everything that happens in Cyprus politics are from a never-ending play of the theatre of the absurd. It has nothing to do with politics as is known in the rest of the world.

To avoid any misunderstandings I would like to make it clear that I have no personal grudge or prejudice against my friend Demetris Syllouris. We both joined DISY together as members brimming with enthusiasm and sharing the aim of working for the success of the party policy – the ‘Clerides policy’ – in the Cyprus issue. Unfortunately, 21 years later, Demetris discovered that he did not agree with the party line, despite having in the meantime occupied some of its top positions (he was general secretary at one time) and serving as its deputy for 13 years. That is another story.

The behaviour of the new House president was not the worst thing that happened. Personally I am not surprised by his unique ability to achieve his aims. I reckon that if one day he decided to stand for election as archbishop he would have a very good chance. I cannot resist also mentioning the prediction of a top DISY member who believes that in 2018 Syllouris will be a candidate for president of the Republic, putting up for auction the House presidency in order to secure support.

The worst roles played in this bizarre procedure were by the AKEL leadership and President Anastasiades. The AKEL leadership is quite clearly in a quandary after the elections and still seems to be living in the mid-20th century. It was made a reasonable proposal by DISY, holding the House presidency for two-and-a-half years each, but rejected it without a second thought. Then, DISY proposed to back AKEL deputy, Dr Adamos Adamou, who was not a member of the leadership, but again AKEL rejected it on the grounds that “it could not co-operate with DISY.”

When the latter proposal was made public, the party lied, claiming it had never been made. And when it was revealed that the Adamou proposal had not only been made but had also been discussed at the political bureau and was rejected, the AKEL leadership had the nerve to ask the following: “Why had DISY not made the proposal regarding Adamou public as it had done in the case of the sharing of the presidency?”

I have to say that there could not have been a more idiotic question. DISY would have said it did not want to receive a second public rejection by way of an answer. But what did the AKEL leadership really want to say? That if the Adamou proposal had been made public it would have accepted it? If this were the case why had AKEL not asked Averof to make it publicly, instead of repeating that it “would not co-operate”.  With such idiotic behaviour by the leadership, is it any wonder that one quarter of left-leaning citizens did not bother to show up to vote for AKEL?

As for Anastasiades, he managed once again to make a fool of himself. One day he was ordering his spokesman to announce that the president would not become involved in the election of the House president and the next he was inviting the DISY leadership to the presidential palace to persuade it to change its decision and back Syllouris. Unfortunately, the president also participates in the theatre of the absurd, as he cannot give up his tactical manoeuvring.

As I wrote a year ago, Anastasiades is not seriously concerned about a Cyprus settlement.  He is just playing theatre in order to buy time. His only concern is his re-election in 2018. He has not understood that in 2018 AKEL will enter an alliance with the devil to remove him from the presidency, just as it did with Clerides in 2003 when it backed the candidacy of Tassos Papadopoulos.

Nor, it seems, has he understood that without a settlement, half the DISY supporters would not vote for him in 2018.

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