Six former senior officials of the Citizens’ Alliance, who left the party in the wake of their disagreement with leader Giorgos Lillikas’ decision to mount a campaign for next year’s presidential elections opposite that of Diko leader Nicolas Papadopoulos, plan to announce a new platform, it emerged on Thursday.
According to local daily Politis, the six – former deputy chairman Stelios Americanos, spokesman Alexandros Michaelides, MP Nicos Koutsou, secretary-general Irene Mandoles, Alliance women’s group leader Marina Demetriou, and incumbent MP Pavlos Mylonas – who resigned last month after Lillikas refused to endorse Papadopoulos and insisted on his own bid, plan to announce the new platform on Friday.
The group share a hardline stance on the Cyprus problem and, in their resignation statement, said they reject “unnatural alliances” – a barb at Lillikas’ eyeing a possible collaboration with main opposition Akel in support of his candidacy.
They had also announced, at the time, that their decisions regarding the upcoming presidential elections would be “collective and clear” and would come “in due time”.
Mylonas confirmed holding the inaugural news conference, noting that more people than just the team of six.
“We will create a platform – not a party,” he told the Cyprus Mail.
“It will feature academics and other small organisations and movements which the public may not be familiar with because of limited media coverage.”
According to Mylonas, the platform will aim at “social interventions”.
“It will comment on social, economic, domestic policy issues, but – I can’t stress this enough – it won’t be a party,” he said.
“We reject parties; we believe they serve a purpose other than their stated objectives.”
It is understood that the six disagreed with Lillikas’ campaign strategy because they felt the Citizens’ Alliance should have joined the three parties – Diko, Edek, and Solidarity – already backing Papadopoulos, thus forming a single front that could challenge incumbent President Nicos Anastasiades and Akel’s candidate.
Thus, the platform is expected to come out in favour of Papadopoulos, broadening his base and taking votes away from Lillikas.
With regard to the possibility of backing Papadopoulos, Mylonas said it’s one option.
“We may back Papadopoulos, or another candidate, or no candidate at all,” he said, stating the obvious – that Lillikas is not an option.
However, it is perhaps telling that, when he left the Alliance but remained an independent MP, Mylonas moved from his seat in the House plenum with the Alliance MPs to a spot behind the Diko parliamentary group.
The Citizens’ Alliance offered no comment on the rumoured move.
Earlier this week, the party announced the names of the resigned officials’ replacements.
In an interview last week, Lillikas added fuel to the fire of rumours that he is quietly seeking to build bridges with Akel by claiming that “with the departure of the resigned officials, the profile of the Citizens’ Alliance is of a left party”.
In an earlier interview he had declared it “impossible” for any candidate to clinch the presidency without the support of one of the two large parties – Disy or Akel.
“The numbers just don’t add up,” he said, foreshadowing his strategic endgame.