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Cyprus

Diko official resigns, as infighting intensifies

Diko vice chairman Christos Patsalides on Friday resigned his post, citing disagreement with decision-making procedures adopted by the leadership and unelected officials representing the party publicly.

In a letter to leader Nicolas Papadopoulos, Patsalides said that under the circumstances resigning would be “the honourable, honest, dignified, and politically proper thing to do”.

“The current lack of communication and complete lack of responsiveness to political thoughts I submitted to the party’s bodies leave me with no choice,” he said.

He went on to list examples of such non-responsiveness, starting with the party’s decision on collaboration in the upcoming presidential election.

“You might recall that at the executive office session that discussed the issue of collaboration with other parties in the presidential election, I stated the view that our party’s key principle for a solution to the Cyprus problem based on the bizonal, bicommunal federation model should remain unchanged,” he said.

“I also expressed concern that its denouncement by other collaborating parties would create a major issue that should be addressed by a specific political agreement. […] I expected that my views would attract some attention prior to the announcement of your strategy. Instead, no party bodies were convened to discuss the issues, and no dialogue between us was initiated.”

In April, Diko teamed up with socialist Edek and Solidarity to jointly run Papadopoulos for president.

Edek and Solidarity have publicly denounced the bizonal, bicommunal federation as a model for the solution of the Cyprus problem.

Further, Patsalides complained, “the sense of disregard, as well as contempt, toward elected party officials, regardless of disagreements or differing approaches, cannot be justified”.

“Particularly by paid associates who effortlessly express themselves as elected representatives and officials of the party with no such justification,” he charged.

Patsalides’ resignation was the latest incident in an ongoing war between the so-called ‘official Diko’ under leader Papadopoulos, and the ‘unofficial Diko’ wing represented by his predecessor Marios Garoyian.

Earlier this week, other members of the faction inside the party spoke out about the “new ethos” introduced by Papadopoulos and pointed fingers at people “parachuted” into the party, naming Papadopoulos’ campaign manager Chrysis Pantelides and party spokesman Athos Antoniades as examples.

“My decision to resign the post of vice-president is for me an act of political responsibility, dignity and respect to the party’s collective bodies,” he said.

“I clarify that with my decision I do not place myself outside the party, I remain and continue to serve its principles and values as one of the thousands of party members.”

In a venomous postscript, Patsalides half-joked that “it seems that it is in the fate of our party for its vice-president to resign on the eve of presidential elections”.

This was an allusion to Papadopoulos’ resignation from the post of vice-president a month before the presidential election in February 2013, in protest to the party’s decision to back President Nicos Anastasiades.

Papadopoulos had then gone on to challenge Garoyian for the leadership, eventually replacing him in a contentious election in December 2013.

In a brief statement on Friday, Diko said Patsalides’ resignation was accepted, although the party rejects the reasons and claims he made in his letter.

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