Cyprus Mail

Our View: Akel can take time finding a presidential candidate

Akel leader Andros Kyprianou

A private company has been calling random mobile phone numbers to in-form people that on Thursday, July 20 there would be an anti-occupation rally at the Liberty monument in Nicosia to condemn the Turkish invasion. The speaker at this rally would be candidate for the presidency of the Republic and Diko leader Nikolas Papadopoulos, the caller said.

Now that the Cyprus talks are over the candidates will be able to focus on the election campaign again and Papadopoulos will use the anniversary of the invasion to resume his. President Anastasiades, meanwhile, claims that he has not yet decided whether he would seek re-election even though he has started the vote-gathering regardless. Positions are opening in the public sector, hundreds of promotions have been approved, promises of infrastructure projects have been made to all districts and state expenditure is rising.

Giorgos Lillikas, the leader of the Citizens’ Alliance announced his candidacy first and hopes that Akel, in the end, will be forced to back him because it will fail to find its own candidate. This is why all eyes are on Akel because its choice could influence the outcome of the election. The party’s politburo will meet on Friday and its central committee on Saturday but there are conflicting reports about their plans. One report claimed procedure to find a candidate would be speeded up, while another said that a final decision should not be expected before autumn.

It appears party leader Andros Kyprianou is unwilling to stand because a poor showing would be disastrous for the future of the party and his leadership. Yet the search for a suitable independent candidate to back should be easier now that the other three candidates are, to different degrees, opposed to a Cyprus settlement. If Akel finds a credible pro-solution candidate he or she would attract all the votes of those that want to prevent partition, while the other three candidates would all be vying for the rejectionist votes. The latter is admittedly a bigger pool of voters, but there would be three candidates vying for a share.

As it is highly unlikely there would be second candidate vying for the pro-settlement votes, Akel should be in no hurry to make a decision, especially as we are entering the holiday period and campaigning will be low-key until September arrives. By then there might be an independent candidate that Akel would be willing to back without entering an electoral alliance with him or her. This might be the best option for the communists as they would not be debited with the poor showing of an independent, nor would they have to contribute money to the campaign fund.

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