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Cyprus

Opposition parties agree to presidential candidate meeting

Giorgos Lillikas

 

Socialist Edek’s invitation for a joint meeting of the five parties favouring a hardline stance on the Cyprus problem next week has now been accepted by all, with Citizens’ Alliance leader Giorgos Lillikas on Tuesday proposing different dates due to scheduling conflicts.

A joint meeting of the five parties, which hope to field a single candidate in next year’s presidential election to counter the two largest ones, Akel and Disy, had first been proposed by Lillikas last month, but the request was turned down by Diko leader Nicolas Papadopoulos, whose party was still holding bilateral meetings with each of the others.

The two men are reportedly the leading contenders to be the alliance’s single candidate.

This time, it was Edek leader Marinos Sizopoulos who extended the invitation to Diko, Solidarity, the Cizitens’ Alliance, and the Greens. They all agreed though Lillikas said the proposed dates, April 18 and 19, clashed with his trip to Russia.

“In a letter to my friend Marinos [Sizopoulos], we replied to the invitation positively,” Lillikas told reporters, but he asked that meeting be held after his return from Russia.

Diko and Solidarity also replied positively to Edek’s invitation.

Meanwhile, Papadopoulos’ move to lure Citizens’ Alliance employees to Diko was seen as hostile by Lillikas, who opted for the high road.

“Such actions do not contribute to fostering the best possible climate, which is required in a partnership,” he said.

“Such actions hurt the feelings of the Citizens’ Alliance people. But I don’t want to comment further, because I don’t want to contribute to fostering a bad climate.”

Lillikas has also been widely reported as considering going rogue and abandoning the five-party camp, instead teaming up with communist Akel, if it would agree to back his candidacy.

A former Akel member and MP, Lillikas left the party to join former President Tassos Papadopoulos, under whom he served as minister of commerce and foreign affairs, which earned him persona non grata status with the communist party.

But his presence at a memorial service for Kavazoglou and Mishiaoulis, Akel members murdered during the 1964 intercommunal strife, over the weekend, prompted speculation that he was cosying up to the party.

“It strikes me as odd that my presence this year was commented on but not my presence in previous years,” he said.

“I had planned on attending last year, too, but due to surgery I was represented by another Citizens’ Alliance official.”


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