INCUMBENT Limassol Mayor Andreas Christou has voiced his intention to seek re-election in December’s local elections, a decision that could revive a tripartite alliance of opposition parties.
Christou, who initially planned not to run for a third term, had second thoughts reportedly after pressure from his party, main opposition Akel.
His decision, expected to be officially announced on Monday, could mean a revival of a three-party alliance between Akel, Diko and Edek that may extend to other, smaller municipalities.
The stage was now set for a showdown between Christou and former Edek MP Nicos Nicolaides, who is backed by ruling Disy.
Nicolaides announced his independent candidacy earlier this month, after a row with Edek leader Marinos Sizopoulos, who had decided to run last May for the seat Nicolaides won in the 2011 parliamentary elections in Limassol.
Disy’s decision irked five party members, including former MPs Andreas Michaelides and Andreas Themistocleous, who wanted to be considered as candidates.
Sizopoulos was also angered, describing the move as an intervention into Edek’s internal affairs.
Reports said that the five Disy members were looking to field their own candidate, prompting Disy chief Averof Neophytou to travel to Limassol on Friday in a bid to calm them down.
“This is not the first time the party’s decisions creates some problems, and some disappointment among party members interested in running,” Neophytou said after meeting with the disgruntled group.
“But, for decades, despite the reactions and the disappointments, we at Disy have found the way to unite.”
Defending the decision to back Nicolaides, Neophytou praised his honesty and integrity, and threw a barb at the rumoured revival of the tripartite of the opposition parties.
“For us, it is expected that the rest of the political parties will draw outdated practices and split municipalities among them – which go to Akel, which to Diko or Edek, and so on,” he said.
Akel leader Andros Kyprianou said potential cooperation in the elections will be driven by the interests of the local communities.
Asked if Christou would be supported by Akel, Diko and Edek, Kyprianou said the party was not out to strike alliances for all districts.
“The instructions we have given the district committees is to target local collaborations and any deals should have a strong local character and revolve around the correct political positions and the personality that will lead the effort to serve the interests of the people,” he said.
Kyprianou said the party will hold discussions with other parties but what local societies have to say will be the decisive factor.
“These elections have a strong local character and this must be maintained; we cannot attach an intense political character to these elections.”