Cyprus Mail

Akel ‘still a long way to go’ before choosing candidate

Main opposition Akel spokesman Stefanos Stefanou on Wednesday rejected media claims that the party’s political bureau decided to back an independent candidate for next year’s elections or that they were set on a specific name.

According to media reports, the party’s political bureau, which met on Tuesday, decided to back an independent candidate and that first on the list was businessman Mike Spanos, followed by former health minister Stavros Malas – who was also the party’s candidate in the previous presidential elections – and former finance minister Kikis Kazamias.

Not only has the political bureau not decided on anything yet, Stefanou told the Cyprus Mail, but there is still a long way to go before the party announces its decision, sometime at the beginning of July.

He added that the thoughts of the political bureau will be discussed on Saturday by the central committee, then the political bureau is to convene again, the issue will also be discussed by other bodies of the party, then back to the central committee, and finally, a conference is to take place at the beginning of July where the decision will be announced.

The party’s political bureau announced around two weeks ago that it began discussion with regard to the profile of its candidate for next year’s presidential elections, with names on the table following initial discussion last month over the criteria the party’s nominee should fulfil.

With regard to the rumours that the party is considering Spanos, Akel leader Andros Kyprianou had said earlier in the month he would not comment on every name that was being reported, and asked everyone to be patient.

Kyprianou had said that the right Akel candidate would be someone who could handle the Cyprus problem effectively, the country’s socioeconomic affairs, and wider domestic affairs in such a way so as to bring about progress, and deal with corruption.

He or she must also be popular enough to be elected and agree with the party’s positions.

With the exception of former President Demetris Christofias in 2008, Akel has never run a party member for president.

In 2003, it supported Diko leader Tassos Papadopoulos, who won in a first-round landslide.

Fifteen years earlier, Akel managed to elect George Vassiliou, a successful businessman, to the presidency.

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