Hardline parties Diko, Edek, and the Solidarity Movement will propose to their respective party members that they should support Nicolas Papadopoulos as their joint candidate in next year’s presidential elections.
The announcement was made by Edek leader Marinos Sizopoulos following a meeting of the parties which describe themselves as of the centre or ‘in-between space’ in Nicosia on Monday.
The Green party will ask its party members for a final decision while Citizens’ Alliance chairman Giorgos Lillikas said he disagreed with the procedure.
Lillikas has already announced his candidacy.
According to Sizopoulos, the Citizens’ Alliance leader insisted on his earlier proposal, which had found no takers, that a joint candidate for the so-called centre parties be selected by popular vote.
Lillikas also insisted that criteria for the selection of a joint candidate be agreed between the five parties before names are tabled.
“The Citizens’ Alliance came to the table with the parties of the so-called centre parties with honesty and the intention to cooperate,” Lillikas said after the meeting.
“We proposed a discussion to agree a framework of principles for governance, a discussion of the criteria by which the joint candidate should be selected, and agreement on the process by which the appropriate candidate would be selected. We are saddened that our proposals were not met with support from the other parties.”
The Citizens’ Alliance fully respects the three parties’ decision, he added.
“Final say now rests with the electorate, which will choose its next president in February,” he said.
In a statement after the meeting, Papadopoulos thanked the Edek leader for deciding to support his candidacy, and the Greens’ leader Giorgos Perdikis for agreeing to bring the proposal to his party for a decision.
He also thanked Solidarity leader Eleni Theocharous for withdrawing her candidacy in support of Papadopoulos.
“We begin a collective effort, to which I invite the Citizens’ Alliance and other social groups, as well as the public that shares our view on the need for political change,” Papadopoulos said.
“We begin a collective effort that will meet the public’s demand to work together for an alternative, assertive strategy that will lead to a functional solution to the Cyprus problem, as well as economic growth with social cohesion. We begin a collective effort that will give the people of Cyprus dignity, hope, and vision.”
Earlier, Theocharous had explained her decision to withdraw from the race in deference to Papadopoulos’ bid for the presidency.
“Solidarity’s executive council had authorised me to handle the issue of selecting a joint candidate of Solidarity, Diko, Edek, the Citizens’ Alliance, and the Greens,” she said in a statement.
“Projecting the patriotic duty for the need to change politics and a new strategy to rescue the Republic of Cyprus and Cypriot Hellenism, the economy, social cohesion and public welfare, I have decided to withdraw my own candidacy and support that of Diko’s leader, judging that he has a better chance of election to the presidency.”