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Diko in-fighting leads to more ousters

Diko leader Nicolas Papadopoulos

Two more Diko members were kicked out of the party late on Tuesday night, while a third officially resigned, the party said, as reports circulated that ousted former chairman Marios Garoyian would start a new political party.

A further member was dismissed for a period of six months, according to a party announcement.

During the meeting, which had started at 3pm, one of the members of the disciplinary committee, Andreas Meraklis, decided to excuse himself during discussions on what was to happen to member Charalambos Demetriou, due to ‘his relationship’ with him.

The disciplinary committee was meeting to impose punishments on members of the party who had publicly gone against candidate and party leader Nicolas Papadopoulos in the presidential elections during which he was knocked out in the first round.

On Monday, the party decided to eject 12 members, including Garoyian and former MP and MEP Antigoni Papadopoulou, blaming them Papadopoulos’ defeat.

While Diko is purging itself of members, media reports have claimed that Garoyian is looking to form a new social-democratic party.

According to Sigma TV, the members of the ‘Garoyian team’ have already formed a political manifesto for the party.

During the election campaign, a number of Diko members openly held gatherings stating their opposition to Papadopoulos’ perceived hard-line positions on the Cyprus issue at which Garoyian was the main speaker. Such gatherings were even held in Limassol and Nicosia on January 24 – just four days prior to the first round of the election.

Back in October, several officials had broken ranks including the party vice chairman Christos Patsalides. Last December, Garoyian fired a shot at Papadopoulos, who unseated him as Diko leader in 2013, disagreeing with Papadopoulos’ veiled efforts to denounce the bizonal, bicommunal federation as the model for a solution to the Cyprus problem.

Earlier on Tuesday, member Marinos Kleanthous, a local councilor at Aglandjia, quit the party, accusing Papadopoulos and his close associates of failing to recognise their responsibility.

“Nicolas Papadopoulos’ election defeat was expected for us who communicate with the people of Diko on a daily basis,” Kleanthous said in a letter he made public. “We were seeing the erratic course of the party leadership and wondered how far it would go.”

Kleanthous said Papadopoulos and company made decisions using undemocratic procedures and refused to listen to the members of the party and convene a congress as stipulated in the charter.

He censured the leadership for siding with nationalists and telling voters not to vote for anyone in the runoff vote.

Kleanthous said Papadopoulos had failed to reach Diko supporters, he was distant, and never accepted criticism.

“He was indifferent of local committees, the ordinary members. He violated the charter. He only trusted the select few friends of his.”

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