Cyprus Mail
Our View

Parties commenting on current affairs is what passes as politics in Cyprus

IT WAS clear the holiday period was over on Wednesday because the political parties resumed their daily bombardment of announcements expressing their positions on current affairs. Since Wednesday, there have been press releases about Gesy and the autonomy of the hospitals from most parties; concern about the public row between the auditor-general and the commissioner for the protection of personal data; the odd announcement about the Cyprus problem (a worrying silence surrounded it said Solidarity) and the inflow of immigrants that is causing anxiety to Elam.

Parties commenting on current affairs is what passes as politics in Cyprus. A few hundred words are written by a party hack so that the party gets a mention in the news stories about the issue and the job is done. The state broadcaster is obliged by law to mention the announcements of all the parties on its news shows when reporting a specific story. The announcement would either criticise the government or make some irresponsible populist proposal, pandering to voters. Such is the frequency of these announcements the only thing they achieve is to turn people off politics.

Does anyone apart from people in news offices and parties read these? Representatives of the government also follow them but are selective on what they respond to. It is usually Akel’s announcement criticising the president’s handling of the Cyprus problem that elicits a government response and little else, which is hardly surprising. And now that only Akel is critical of the president’s Cyprus problem stance, the government spokesman has less work to do.

On Thursday, the Greens, who release by far the most announcements per day, issued an invitation by its leader Giorgos Perdikis to the parliamentary party leaders for an inter-party meeting to discuss the “big domestic issues of government.” In this case, the announcements are also used for the promotion of the party leader, who even listed the domestic issues that would be discussed at the proposed inter-party meeting. Will this meeting ever be held? Of course not, but this was not the objective of the announcement. It was to show that Perdikis supports a united home front and considers certain issues, which he listed, required “common handling for the good of the country.”

There will never be “common handling” of any domestic issue because each party has its own agenda. Would there be unity on the reform of local government, considering the opposition parties voted against the government’s reform proposals two years ago? The only time the parties are in agreement is in backing government spending and none of the big issues listed by Perdikis, apart from “housing for the homeless” involves any major spending.