Opposition parties Akel and Diko on Saturday endorsed their picks for the municipal elections in December.
After a meeting, Akel’s central committee said, it had endorsed proposals formulated for municipal elections put forward by its local party organisations, a process that took two months in which the leading role was played by party members, it said.
For Nicosia, the party has chosen to back Panayiotis Stavrinides, Limassol current mayor Andreas Christou, Larnaca Andreas Vyras and in Paphos Akis Chrisomilos. Current Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos is the Disy candidate and in Limassol the ruling party is backing former Edek MP Nicos Nicolaides.
“Akel’s choices are based on serving local government and society and not any partisan or personal interests,” the party said in a statement. The institution of local government needs support because it suffers due to its being deteriorated by the Anastasiades-Disy government. Local government has need for progressive reform, which unfortunately the government has short-circuited”.
“The people Akel has proposed for local communities combine experience with enthusiasm and an appetite for work,” it added. “They have a concern for people and are aware of the responsibility they have been invited to undertake.” The party said a powerful Akel constituted a guarantee for the support and development of the institution of local government, for more humane cities and communities, modern and prosperous. “Along with the citizens, we can do it,” it said.
The central committee of Diko, also on Saturday approved its list of candidates.
“The Central Committee of the Democratic Party in a meeting unanimously approved the recommendation of its executive bureau for the prospective mayors, which it will support the municipal elections,” a statement from the party said.
The mayoral candidates the party will support are, for Nicosia incumbent Constantinos Yiorkadjis. For Limassol the party is, like Akel, backing Andreas Christou, in Ayia Napa current mayor Yiannis Karousos, while in Derinia and Paralimni they have told party members to vote with their conscience.
For Larnaca district Diko voters have been asked to back Andreas Petrou while in Paphos Akis Chrisomilos has the backing of the party.
Two women are also included in the candidates being backed by the party of the democrats, both coincidentally standing for positions in the areas controlled by Turkey with Rita Elisseou Komodi in Kyrenia and Eleni Hadjimichael in Akanthou.
For Morphou the party are asking its faithful to turn out for Charalambos Pittas.
Diko member Alexis Michaelides announced at a news conference on Saturday that he still intended to stand as an independent candidate for mayor of Larnaca, following a decision by Diko to back another man.
Michaelides expressed his respect for the party but said his love and concern for Larnaca outweighed that. “My independent candidacy for mayor of Larnaca which I announced a few weeks ago,” said Michaelides “remains before the society of and citizens of our city.”
“It was my very clear desire,” he said, “to also enjoy the support of my candidacy by the Democratic Party, under which I served Larnaca for years.” “Unfortunately,” he continued, “the result was not desired. I respect the party members who voted. I respect the competitor who won and of course I respect the leadership of the Democratic Party. While I have respect towards them, this cannot exceed the respect, love and my concern for Larnaca.”
“The mayoral election,” he said “is primarily a local community and much less a party process. The nomination was not and will not be partisan, but will remain a candidate from Larnaca for Larnaca.”
He expressed gratitude to DISY and other organized groups that support his candidacy as well as residents of Larnaca from the Democratic Party and other parties that Friday evening publicly urge him to go on. He said he intended to continue for the same reason he started, “For Larnaca.”
There are 30 municipalities in the government-controlled areas and another nine that represent municipalities in the north such as Morphou and Kyrenia.
Currently before the House are three government bills for local-authority reforms.
Back in July, Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos, who is pushing the ambitious reform plan that would radically shake up local administration, proposed that the upcoming elections be pushed back to 2019, to coincide with elections to the European parliament.
This, he argued, would help the government save money spent on separate elections, and allow precious time for debate on the contentious fine-print of local-government reform.