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Mini-purge in AKEL as outspoken party veterans expelled

AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou
AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou

IN a mini-purge of its own, AKEL this week expelled two long-time party members and stalwarts, apparent punishment for their not toeing the party line.

On Monday, AKEL’s Nicosia district committee moved to expunge Androulla Gurov, former chief editor of the communist party mouthpiece Haravghi, and Andreas Fantis, who served as MP for AKEL from 1970 to 1991.

Local media are reporting that Gurov, who in the past had served on the party’s political bureau, got her comeuppance for lately criticising the AKEL leadership.

In a series of posts on her blogspot, Gurov panned the party leadership, and in particular party leader Andros Kyprianou for his stance after the party’s poor performance in this May’s legislative elections.

AKEL was able to garner just 25.6 per cent of the popular vote, dropping 7.1 percentage points compared to the 2011 elections, and losing three seats in the House in the process.

In a recent post, the dour and old-style communist Gurov said Kyprianou was seeking to blame others for the failure.

“A real leader who is at the helm of a party with the scope, prestige and history of AKEL, should take personal responsibility first, and then attribute lesser responsibility to others,” she wrote.

In another caustic remark, she said: “His sorry sight, as he gallivants from one television channel to another and threatening disbarment and expulsions of former members does not do honour to the general secretary of AKEL.”

And perhaps realising which way the wind was blowing for her, Gurov added: “This bluster and arrogance are not in line with the modesty and fortitude of a true communist.

“If he wants so much to disbar and reprimand [party members], let him do it according to the party charter and regulations.”

Speaking to Phileleftheros on Wednesday, an unnamed source in AKEL defended the decision, arguing that the party’s Nicosia district committee has full authority to disbar members, without going through central procedures, “where a case is clear-cut.”

Responding, Gurov claimed that normal party procedures were bypassed to ensure her summary dismissal.

Fantis’ expulsion from the party, on the other hand, seems to have been a foregone conclusion.

In the run-up to the parliamentary elections, Fantis had defected to DIKO, getting himself on that party’s ticket.

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