The majority of the parties of the ‘in-between political space’, also christened the ‘patriotic front’ by one of the leaders, Dr Eleni Theocharous, has decided to back Diko leader Nicolas Papadopoulos in February’s presidential elections. The Solidarity and Edek leaders said they would back Papadopoulos but would have to secure the approval of their respective parties – a formality – while Giorgos Perdikis could not commit before consulting his party although its support is almost certain.
Only the Citizens’ Alliance will be absent as its leader Giorgos Lillikas wanted to be the candidate of the so-called centre parties because he claimed he had a better chance of beating Nicos Anastasiades in a run-off of the two leading candidates. He said this was what opinion polls showed. It was an absurd claim based on dubious assumptions. Why was he so certain that Anastasiades would win through to the run-off and why was he so sure Akel’s candidate, who has not been chosen yet, would finish third?
Having failed to persuade his fellow travellers Lillikas then came up with the ludicrous proposal that the people should choose the patriotic front’s candidate through an election. Who would have voted in this election he did not explain but it would have allowed the unpatriotic Akel and Disy voters to choose the candidate of the patriotic front and they could have backed Perdikis, who would surely have stood.
The two parties that are committed to backing Papadopoulos, in theory, have a very different line on the Cyprus problem. Edek and the Alliance are both opposed to a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, which they claim would be catastrophic for the country, but Diko is supposedly committed to it as long as it has the right content. How could these two parties support a candidate that is quite clearly not as patriotic as they are and would pursue a catastrophic settlement?
We all know that Papadopoulos and a settlement are mutually exclusive, but it now seems that the same applies to Anastasiades. The president appears to have become a rejectionist in his thinking and actions. So much so, that after Monday’s national council meeting not a single word of criticism was uttered against him by the rejectionist parties. It will now depend on Akel to field a candidate that would be pro-settlement, because Anastasiades appears to have defected to the patriotic front in the belief that this would boost his re-election drive.