Amid objections by members eyeing the party’s blessing as candidate mayor in the Limassol municipality, ruling Disy’s political bureau has decided to support former Edek deputy Nicos Nicolaides, who announced his independent candidacy earlier this month.
In a statement on Wednesday, Disy announced the mayoral candidates it would back in December’s municipal elections.
The party’s choices include surprises, including Angelos Odysseos, incumbent at the Polis Chrysochous municipality, originally an Akel candidate, Edek-affiliated Michalis Pavlides, Diko member Alexis Michaelides for Larnaca mayor, as well as the unusual decision to let Disy voters decide between sitting mayor Theodoros Pyrillis and Giorgos Nicolettos for Paralimni mayor.
But the biggest ripples were made by the decision of Disy’s political bureau to support former Edek deputy – and transport minister in the Christofias government – Nicos Nicolaides for Limassol mayor.
Nicolaides announced his independent candidacy earlier this month, after a bitter row with Edek leader Marinos Sizopoulos, who decided to run last May for the seat Nicolaides had won in the 2006 parliamentary elections.
Disy’s move prompted complaints by both party members interested in running, including former deputies Andreas Michaelides and Andreas Themistocleous, and angered Sizopoulos, who deemed it an “intervention in Edek’s internal affairs that should have been avoided”.
Prior to the political bureau’s session on Tuesday, five Disy members who wished to be considered for the party’s backing in Limassol were told to get together and decide among themselves who the party’s nominee would be.
But, while the five were inching towards selecting Michaelides, they were told that Nicolaides – an outsider – would also be considered, at which point efforts at consensus were abandoned.
All five tabled their names for consideration and left the political bureau session, which ended up picking Nicolaides.
“Disy must always lead, for the common good, with its own ideology and its own people,” Themistocleous wrote on his Facebook profile late on Tuesday.
“The party that elects its leaders to the Presidency of the Republic cannot follow and nominate candidates who came begging, having failed for the second time to garner support from Akel.”
Although more conciliatory, Michaelides acknowledged the rift with the party’s leadership, but noted that he respected and would back the decision.
“[The five of us] were there for Limassol, while the leadership had to look at 30 or 40 cases,” he said.
“We made our case, but it was not heeded. The political bureau’s decision is fully respected, even if we disagree. Our disagreement is not over the individual, it’s a political one.”
Meanwhile, Edek leader Marinos Sizopoulos said on Wednesday that it remains to be seen what will happen with party members who have broken the party’s decisions and worked against the party.
“Edek’s political bureau has called on all party members and officials to refrain from announcing any candidacies until the party has had a chance to explore the possibility of co-operation with other parties,” Sizopoulos said.
“Mr Nicolaides, as well as other members, has disobeyed the party’s decisions.”
He also laid blame on Disy for backing a member from another party, saying this could impact the chances for co-operation.
“I believe it is a form of meddling [in Edek’s affairs], and perhaps it should have been avoided by Disy,” he said.
“If there is no respect to other parties and their decisions, it causes problems in exploring potential co-operation.”