President Nicos Anastasiades sparked the anger of the Nikolas Papadopoulos camp on Sunday after bringing up his rival’s family wealth and stating that his mother’s money could not solve the problem of non-performing loans (NPLs).
In an interview published on Sunday by Kathimerini, Anastasiades, who is seeking a second term, said when asked about the persistent NPL problem: “I will not start promising a haircut on loans, just as I hear some people saying, as if this comes from their mother’s money or the inheritance they received from someone.”
Even though he mentioned no names, it was widely understood that Anastasiades was referring to Papadopoulos and his mother Fotini.
In response, Papadopoulos’ election camp said in an announcement that Anastasiades had outdone himself in “vulgarity and immorality”.
“After failing for five years to deal with the huge problem of NPLs and having no counter-proposal to that of Nikolas Papadopoulos on the creation of a public agency to manage NPLs, Mr Anastasiades […] made offensive, sarcastic and degrading comments for Mrs Fotini Papadopoulou and (her father) national benefactor Anastasios Leventis,” an announcement said.
Diko said that this was an effort by Anastasiades to dismiss the proposals of Papadopoulos.
Fotini Papadopoulou, the party said, was well-known in Cyprus for her “massive and substantial charity work”.
This statement, the party said, showed the president lacked seriousness, the absence of any plan to deal with the serious problems of the economy and that he was panicking over “the appeal of Nikolas Papadopoulos’ proposals to the people”.
Greens leader Giorgos Perdikis ran to support of Papadopoulos, whom his party is backing, and tweeted: “I don’t know if ‘mummy’s money’ can solve the problem of the NPLs. What’s certain is that it is never going to be solved by Anastasiades’ indifference and (Finance Minister) Harris’ (Georgiades) callousness”.
Akel-backed independent candidate Stavros Malas also censured Anastasiades for “immorally attacking one of his election opponents”.
Ruling party Disy rushed to the president’s defence. Disy spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said that those who were offended by Anastasiades’ comment were overreacting.
Anastasiades used “a common figure of speech, criticising those who do not understand that state policies have to do with taxpayers’ money, and behave as if they have to do with the money and property of their family”.
Those who took offence at Anastasiades’ statement, were those who felt this comment was about them, Prodromou said.