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Opinion Tales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: Comrades to back go-to candidate for losing elections

Returning from obscurity: a man walks past a Malas campaign poster in 2013

THE COMMIES of Akel have finally come to a decision regarding the presidential elections. The Central Committee on Saturday “decided to enter a dialogue with Stavros Malas, in order to investigate the possibilities of a programme of co-operation with him in view of the presidential elections,” said a party announcement.

“The Central Committee authorised the Central Secretariat of the party to pursue the implementation of the decision,” it added. According to some reports, there were two choices before the Central Committee, the other being lawyer Achilleas Demetriades, but the comrades voted overwhelmingly in favour of Malas.

This was perfectly understandable as Malas is a proven loser, having one failure as a presidential candidate on his record. He managed to scrape through to the second round in the 2013 elections, when nobody wanted to be the Akel candidate, and lost comfortably to Nik in the run-off, which was a no-contest.

This time, with Junior set to attract the hard-line commies controlled by renegade comrade Nik Katsourides, Malas will not even come close to making the second round, which suits the Akel leadership just fine. The party’s poor showing in the election would be blamed on the weak candidate rather than the incompetent leadership that chose him.

MALAS has become Akel’s reliable go-to-candidate for losing elections. He is obedient, inoffensive, does not have any delusions of independence and no strong views that the comrades might disapprove of. In fact, after losing in 2013, he returned to obscurity, avoiding any active part in public life or politics.

The comrades will have difficulty defending his disinterest in public life for the last four-and-a-half years, but I am sure they will say that in that time he always read the newspapers and watched the television news. The big question raised by the choice of Malas is who would finance his election campaign, considering Akel has no money?

Malas does not have the kind of money needed for a campaign and gone are the days when the banks made election donations. Perhaps this was the reason he was chosen – knowing he is a certain loser the party would spend the absolute minimum on his campaign. In fact, if the comrades asked nicely, I am certain Junior or his ultra-wealthy mother would be more than happy to pick up the bill for Malas’ campaign as his candidacy will be very helpful to the Papadop family’s efforts to reclaim its throne.

WHAT IF Malas decides he does not want to be Akel’s fall guy and refuses to agree with the programme of co-operation which the Central Secretariat wants to impose on him? What would the comrades do then?

Even if he does agree, this will not be the final line-up for the presidential elections. Our good friend the Rector of the University of Cyprus Constantinos Christofides is considering standing as an independent and has already gathered a sizeable team of people around him to help him launch a campaign if he finally decides to make the big leap.

How far someone without party backing would be able to go in an election nobody could predict but it would be great, for once, to have an independent, non-party candidate that is not a fruit-cake.

Who knows, the Perdikis party might back the rector given the great leader’s failure to take the Greens into the Junior camp. Perdikis held a party vote on which candidate the Greens should back and it was inconclusive, only one third backing the Junior option.

Anastasiades addresses guests for free in the palace garden on Thursday night

WHO WOULD have thought there would be competing events held on the black anniversary of the Turkish invasion, fighting for audiences to applaud and cheer the defiantly heroic words of their respective speakers?

If I was not so sure about the resolute commitment of both speakers to the liberation of Kyproulla (re-unification has been removed from the political vocabulary because it is not patriotic enough), I would have dismissed both events as election gatherings given the speakers would be contesting the 2018 presidential elections.

Such cynicism is not permitted though when we are talking about two leaders who spend all their waking hours – and when they are asleep – thinking how to free the country of Turkish occupation and make it whole again. That they are not very close to achieving this objective, is 150 per cent the fault of the Turkish side.

Junior’s anti-occupation event was held at the Liberty Monument near the Archbishopric, perhaps to underline his close ties with the Church, while Prez Nik’s fiery speech was held in the gardens of the presidential palace. The events were held at different times so it was possible masochists with no life could have attended both.

Our establishment could not find any loser that attended either event so it is in no position to inform readers which one attracted a bigger crowd or was more hysterically patriotic.

THE ABSENCE of photos of the crowd at Junior’s anti-occupation extravaganza suggests that it was not very big. On the Diko website the only picture is of the prince speaking. If there was a respectable turn-out, I am certain we would have seen the pix and read about.

After last year’s fiasco of an anti-occupation gathering, co-sponsored by all the inbetweener parties, including Lillikas’ and Perdikis’ personal vehicles, attracted less than 200 people, Junior’s campaign bosses were leaving nothing to chance. They had a team of people making telephone calls to inform people about the July 20 anti-occupation campaign that would be addressed by the candidate for the presidency Nikolas Papadopoulos.

They called everyone. I know this because several of our regulars, who would not be seen dead at a Diko gathering, received calls to be informed about the event. Even I received a call and told the caller that I would not go even if Junior planned to pour petrol over three Turkish settlers on the stage and set them alight.

PREZ NIK’S anniversary bash, which had the added incentive of featuring a live concert after the speech, was publicised through radio ads, which informed people that entrance was free. Did the organisers think that anyone could have thought he would have to pay to go and listen to Nik’s invasion anniversary platitudes?

I am surprised that Junior’s campaign team, which has limitless amounts of money, did not think of offering €10 to everyone that showed up for the event. Not only would it have cost less than having a team cold-calling people, but it would have ensured the big turnout their candidate’s eloquently heroic speech deserved.

In his speech Junior revealed his ingenious new strategy for the Cyprob “which is based on the principle that it is Turkey that does not want a settlement and consequently must be pressured or persuaded to change her positions.”

The new strategy also has the added advantage that “it will not continuously bring one humiliation after the other, one degradation after another, but be based on the assertion of our national dignity.” It is certain to end the occupation before Junior completes his first year in office.

I LOVED the excuse given for Nik’s failure to attend the special session, held annually, at the House of Representatives on July 15 to mark the anniversary of the coup and honour those who fell resisting the junta.

Apparently, he did not attend because he received no invitation from the President of the House Demetris Syllouris. And why had Syllouris not invited him? The official explanation was he forgot.

I am surprised that former House president Yiannakis Omirou, who appears to have the coup anniversary franchise and comes alive every July writing countless articles about it avoided censuring his successor for forgetting to invite the president.

National hero Kotzias arriving at the palace on Tuesday

OUR NEW national hero, Greek foreign minister Nikos Kotzias arrived in Kyproulla as the guest of honour at last Tuesday’s national council meeting.

The chubby, red-cheeked Kotzias has become untouchable in Kyproulla for his patriotic Cyprob stance and particularly for his ‘no guarantees, no troops’ doctrine which was embraced by Prez Nik and contributed to the collapse of the Crans-Montana conference, for which – we must not forget – the Turks were 100 per cent to blame.

Kotzias was urged by Edek’s Dr Sizo to increase Greek troops on the island. Dr Sizo has not realised that Kotzias’ heroic resistance is exclusively of the verbal type, just like his own party’s.

Meanwhile Disy chief Averof Neophytou, angered our venerated guest by talking to the cameras for too long after the end of the national council meeting. Kotzias was waiting to speak to hacks, peaking through the window to see whether Averof had finished so he could go out, but the Paphite kept talking.

Fed up of waiting, a flustered Kotzias stormed out of the presidential palace and got in the car, which drove him to the foreign ministry where he was to have lunch. He spoke to hacks after the lunch.

THE HERO WORSHIP of Kotzias is reminiscent of the adulation Cypriots gave to another Greek minister – Gerasimos Arsenis – some 20 years ago. Arsenis was the defence minister who came up with the farce about the Unified Defence Dogma between Greece and Kyproulla, which was immediately bought by the gullible Cypriots.
Newspapers heaped praised on Arsenis while politicians spoke about the change in balance of power in the region and other such nonsense. This farce went on for a few years until we eventually realised that the defence dogma was nothing more than hot air, which nevertheless helped Greece’s arms industry sell many millions worth of military equipment to Kyproulla.

Kotzias, a former Stalinist – who wrote an academic hagiography of General Jaruzelski because, as he said, the party asked him to – with links to Russian extremist nationalists is now the new Arsenis thanks to his unified rejectionist dogma.

PREZ NIK’S official narrative about the Turkish side being 100 per cent to blame for the collapse of the conference was dealt a couple of blows this week. In his briefing of the Security Council on Tuesday night Espen Barth Eide said everyone was at fault for the failure of the Geneva conference.

Even if our side’s fault was just 1 per cent and the UN’s 10 per cent, Turkey would be only 89 per cent to blame. Things got worse on Saturday with Eide saying in an interview given to Tass news agency that guarantees and the right to intervention would have been scrapped if there was an overall deal, while a question mark remained over the long-term presence of troops, even though the number would be very small.

Nik had said there was never the option of ending guarantees and the right of intervention so Eide must be lying.

As the goody-two-shoes, church-going government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said on Saturday in response to the Turkish lobbyist’s lies, “the reason there was no positive outcome at the conference on Cyprus cannot be disputed by anyone.”

It was disputed by Eide but he was a deluded lobbyist, who according to Christodoulides, “on many occasions believed things were happening that he wanted to happen and in this framework downgraded substantial disagreements.”

If this were the case, maybe Eide was 50 per cent to blame because there was no positive outcome in addition to Turkey being 100 per cent to blame.

‘TALKS without land-mines,’ said Phil’s banner headline on Tuesday explaining the government’s view that “the return to the negotiating table should not be rushed.” Nicosia sent the message that it wanted “the right and suitable preparation.” If the banner headline said what the government really wanted it would have read ‘Talks without end.’

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