The Citizens Alliance, with 114 votes in favour and 20 against decided on Sunday that party leader Giorgos Lillikas was the most appropriate candidate for the presidential elections in 2018.
In a written statement after the vote on Sunday, the Supreme Senate laid out several reasons, from the Cyprus talks to the economy, as to why the polices of President Nicos Anastasiades’ government were bankrupt.
“All these reasons and many others require a change in governance,” it said.
This change can only occur with a new president “who has an integrated assertive strategy as submitted by the Citizens Alliance to the National Council in 2015” that would “be able to bend Turkish intransigence and pave the way for a just solution.”
This proposed solution, according to the party would allow “lawful citizens of Cyprus to live in a free and sovereign Republic, enjoying all human rights and democratic freedoms in security and prosperity”.
Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots would live, work and collaborate seamlessly in mixed villages and cities and not as adjacent separate peoples, it added.
The Supreme Senate said it believes that Lillikas has what it takes to win and thinks he will be embraced by the public and supported by those other political forces “that want to end the presidency Nicos Anastasiades”.
The five ‘centre’ parties agreed previously that a rejectionist – or ‘assertive’, in their own words – Cyprus-problem stance would be enough to bring them together behind a single presidential candidate with the sole aim of overturning the two big parties’ stance of supporting a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.
Lillikas’ decision when he unofficially announced his candidacy was met with harsh criticism by the rest in the burgeoning alliance.
Earlier in the week Lillikas appeared to be backtracking on a previous announcement of his candidacy, saying the decision by the Alliance’s Supreme Senate on Sunday – to ratify a proposal for a presidential bid by the party’s leader – would merely be a “guiding principle”.
Lillikas had already showed signs of breaking ranks with the ‘parties of the inbetween space’ as early as January’s Geneva conference on Cyprus when he attended a cocktail reception for all delegations, which the rest of the ‘centre’ party leaders refused to attend.
A discussion on Friday on the Cyprus problem had the same fate – a statement on Tuesday said it was organised by Diko, Edek, the Greens, and Solidarity, with the Citizens’ Alliance conspicuously absent.