Cyprus Mail
Tales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: Our Cyprus: purges, Dikheads and the spoils of power

There was a procession of plebs patiently plodding to the palace but this woman was the star of the show as she seemed to be happiest of all Cypriots

THE POETIC clichés continued even after the ‘festival of democracy’ ended on Sunday evening and almost three quarters of registered individuals exercised the ‘sacred right to vote’ while 26.03 percent that stayed away confirmed the ‘debasement of politicians’ that journalists of high esteem keep banging on about.

An ecstatic Prez Nik spat out the clichés like a machine gun during Sunday night’s victory rally at which he declared, ‘tonight, there are no winners and losers. Only our Cyprus that wins.’ Stavros Malas, who was not a loser according to Nik’s logic, also referred to ‘our Cyprus’ in his post-election speech, during which he told the Prez, who was not the winner, to ‘look after our Cyprus,’ as if he was talking about some sick, elderly relative.

The Prez also had to send the obligatory ‘message of unity’ and assure us he would be ‘president of all Cypriots.’ What was said during the campaign ‘belonged to the past’ and ‘from tomorrow a new day begins;’ he would listen to the people that ‘demand unity.’ To prove that he would be a ‘president of all Cypriots’ and satisfy the demand of the people he ‘extended a hand of cooperation to everyone’ because ‘there are no ideological colours’.

We all went to bed Sunday night and slept like babies, feeling secure that our Cyprus was in safe hands (my clichés) and reassured that on Monday a new day begins.

 

FOR AKEL mouthpiece, Haravghi, there was a winner last Sunday, but it was not the party’s independent candidate Malas. According to one of its Monday headlines, “Akel won politically and morally.” Their moral victory was indisputable given that the comrades achieved the party aim of their candidate losing honourably.

Poor old Phil, whose writers had still not recovered from the traumatic experience of seeing their darling Nikolas 2018 failing to make the second round, on Monday outdid Haravghi’s propagandists, focusing on the perceived negatives of Nik’s victory on Monday. The new term was handed to him with 21,684 fewer votes than he received in 2013, wrote the paper’s editor in chief.

“It is a negative that he has in front of him 335,595 who did not vote for him from the 550,876 registered voters,” he opined, after adding up all the Malas votes to the people who did not vote in order to make Nik a prez elected by the minority.

 

COLUMNIST Giorgos Kallinikou was more emotional. While acknowledging the big significance of Nik’s victory, he said, “at the same time, it is exceedingly tragic for the rest of the political forces that were demanding change.” The “most important thing is that he has in front of him about 335 thousand votes, that did not vote for him.”

Both writers agreed on the remedy for this democratic anomaly. He must take into account the demands of the people, because otherwise his “last term” could be “dangerous.” Which demands of which people, they did not say, but I doubt they had the Turk-lovers of Unite Cyprus in mind.

I suspect Phil’s Cyprob warriors, had the demands of the rejectionist people in mind exclusively, ignoring the fact that 421,103 (76.44 per cent) of the 550,876 registered voters voted against the three rejectionist candidates (Lillikas, Junior and Elam) on the first Sunday.

It was interesting that one of the writers put “last term” in inverted commas, suggesting he doubted Nik would not seek a third term as the president of all Cypriots. I fully share his doubts.

 

ALL WEEK people were asking where Junior had disappeared to, while his henchmen were staging show trials and purges of Diko. Was he at home sulking and feeling sorry for himself after securing zero returns on his mummy’s huge investment in his presidential election campaign?

Was he touring Kyproulla looking for a piece of barren land in middle of nowhere, on which to build a gulag that he could send all the purged Dikheads to, having ruled out executing them? It was neither. On Friday it was reported that he was in London. He was not attending the School for Stalinist Tyrants, but was on holiday, which he deserved.

I can’t help but admire Junior’s self-destructiveness. There is something genuinely heroic and cavalier in going out of your way to make enemies, pissing off as many people as possible and not giving a damn about the consequences, like losing half your party membership, or about what people would think of your reckless behaviour.

Perhaps Junior has realised that a smaller Diko with its toxic influence on politics drastically reduced would be good for the country. If this was his motivation he deserves to have a football stadium named after him.

 

THE SHOW TRIALs, on Monday decided the expulsion of 12 Dikheads, including the former leader Marios Garoyian, whom Junior deposed in 2013, as well as former deputy and MEP Antigone Papadopoulou.

Garoyian had organized anti-Nikolas gatherings during the election campaign, on the pretext that he did not agree with the latter’s new strategy on the Cyprob, but was obviously working for Prez Nik, undermining Junior’s candidacy and splitting the Dikhead vote. He is the exact opposite of Junior, possessing a crude charm that consists of flattering anyone he talks to and treating them like his best friend.

He will be generously rewarded by fellow-Limassolian Nik, when the spoils of power are shared out, so it is doubtful he will bother setting up a new party as some newspapers have been predicting. A new party requires a lot of money and hard work and Garoyian is not going to waste the big amounts of dosh he has made selling citizenships for a party that will earn him nothing, despite of how strongly he feels about the Cyprob.

 

BY TUESDAY, the show trials turned into farce as there was a split in the disciplinary committee that was running them, and one member stepped down. By then many Dikheads decided, anyway, to leave the party voluntarily than become victims of the purge. Attempts to end the purges were rejected by Junior, who does not forgive sinners, and the show trials will continue tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Garoyian has been refusing to speak publicly, about the goings-on, one of his flunkeys claiming he had lost his voice, because of a cold. This was as believable as the claim he opposed Junior because he disagreed with his new Cyprob strategy.

 

THE PRESIDENT of all Cypriots, was glorying in his victory on Friday, when he opened the doors of the presidential palace to the masses that wanted to congratulate him for his election triumph. It was like the traditional wedding reception, without the small white envelopes and the loukoumi.

There was a procession of plebs patiently plodding to the palace reception area and photographers were there to take the picture of the well-wishers with the star of the show, who seemed to be happiest of all Cypriots. The woman in some folk costume, with her arms spread ready to smother her hero stole the show.

 

IT WAS not all fun and games for Nik last week though, as he also had to deal with disagreements over ministerial posts, among members of his cabinet. It all came to a head the day after Ioannis Kasoulides met Nik to tell him that he would be resigning as foreign minister and retiring from politics.

Immediately there were press reports that the foreign ministry would be given to the saintly government spokesman, Nicos Christodoulides, the Dalai Lama of Kyproulla politics, whom everyone seems to love, because he speaks calmly, has an air of authority and never offends anyone.

Finance minister Harris Georgiades had also set his sights on the foreign ministry, having decided that he wanted to leave finance. In fact, he had wanted to leave a year earlier but was persuaded by Nik to stay on until the elections. He went to the palace on Wednesday to tell Nik that he would only stay in the government as foreign minister, but the Prez would not budge, informing him that post was going to the Dalai Lama from Paphos.

This created an additional problem, because interior minister Constantinos Petrides was keen to take finance if Harris went to the Turk-bashing ministry, but would consider leaving the cabinet if his school friend walked out. For a while there was stand-off with the virtuous and kindly Paphite telling everyone that he had not staked a claim on the foreign ministry and it was the prez’s decision. Nik had chosen the best Dalai Lama for the job.

 

THE KATHIMERINI blog reported three factions vying for the top ministerial posts in the new cabinet – the English School (Petrides and Harris went to the school), Paphos (Christodoulides) and the Dikhead rebels. This establishment is not just firmly behind the butter-boy faction of the English School, but believes the other two factions should be actively excluded and discriminated against at all times.

Sadly, it seems like Paphos has won the power struggle. The Dalai Lama, who must have strong backing from somewhere, will not only get the post, but according to yesterday’s Politis, Harris said he would stay by Prez Nik’s side, but not necessarily as finance minister. Whatever other post he takes would be a demotion and he would have to suffer the smug smirking and sly smiles of the Dalai Lama at every cabinet meeting.

Harris has not done himself any favours with his stance. Did they not teach him at the English School that when you make a threat you carry it out or risk appearing weak and indecisive?

 

THE BIG question is why is Nik so determined to give the foreign ministry to the churchgoing Paphite, even if it meant falling out with a loyal lieutenant like Harris? This is a high prestige post, with no political risks and no real responsibility other than managing the big egos of the ministry staff.

Is he grooming the Paphite as his successor, assuming he was not lying when he said this was his ‘last term.’ A rather conspiratorial customer of our establishment insisted that the Dalai Lama was the preferred choice of the embassy of Mother Russia, with which he has very close ties. Moscow would be over the moon having an Eleni Loizidou-type foreign minister, batting for Mother Russia at EU meetings.

 

THIS might sound a bit too sinister but Phil has been championing the Dalai Lama for the post, even before the elections when it said: “Anyway, it is commonly accepted that there is a favourite and a natural successor to Kasoulides, who Anastasiades knows very well.” Last Sunday, the paper informed us that the perfect one “won the respect of public opinion, because he differs from the politicians of his age,” and that the “shield of society protects the Paphite diplomat…” In another item, on the same day, we were informed that he “enjoys a positive reception from citizens, who accept him and listen to him”.

On Wednesday, before Harris had gone to the palace, the paper, in an attempt to prevent any change of mind by Nik, reported on its front page that, Christodoulides was moving to the foreign ministry. Our customer argued that Phil was campaigning so zealously for the Paphite’s appointment, because he had Mother Russia’s support.

This is not necessarily the case. Phil may have wanted some success after its campaigning for Junior – the first time in its history it did not hedge its bets and openly backed a candidate – proved such a dismal failure. It may have failed to get a rejectionist into the presidential palace, but it could boast that it placed one in charge of the foreign ministry.


Related posts

Compromise is not part of our vocabulary

CM Reader's View

You cannot negotiate with the occupier and expect an honorable solution

CM Reader's View

Highly unlikely that US will impose economic sanctions on Turkey

CM Reader's View

High time for change in performance valuations

CM Reader's View

Gas has a future but must cut costs, Cyprus could see delay amid EEZ furore

Dr Charles Ellinas

Unfettered by advisers, Trump’s presidency gets even less predictable

CM Guest Columnist

21 comments

Comments are closed.