Katie Clerides, the daughter of ruling Disy founder Glafcos Clerides, entered the election fray over the weekend in support of Akel’s Turkish Cypriot candidate Niyazi Kizilyurek, who has been attacked by the ruling party and questioned his allegiance to the Republic of Cyprus.
In a statement on Sunday, Clerides said she disagreed with the party and its leadership, though she would not be voting for Kizilyurek because he was running with Akel.
“For reasons of conscience, I want to distance myself from the statements made by the chairman, the spokesman, and the party, because I am totally opposed,” Clerides said.
“Mr Kizilyurek’s patriotism and his love for the whole of Cyprus cannot be disputed by anyone who has read his books,” she added. “If he is elected to the European Parliament, he will favour all Cypriots with an understanding of the sensitivities of the two communities, as anyone who desires the reunification of this country should be.”
Clerides said she would have voted for Kizilyurek herself if he were an independent candidate.
“But I cannot give my vote to Akel, the party that in 2004 sacrificed the solution ‘voting no to cement the yes’ to stay in power with Tassos Papadopoulos,” Clerides said in reference to the Annan plan referendum.
Instead, and lacking any other option, “I will vote for two Disy candidates who at least, in my view, have understood Glafcos Clerides’ policy on the Cyprus problem.”
Kizilyurek, an academic with fluent Greek who has been living and working in the Republic for years, has been under attack from Disy using various arguments to question his allegiance to the Republic.
The party has been criticised heavily over its actions, which observers attribute to concerns over voter leaks towards the far right. However, it appears that moderate Disy supporters disappointed with President Nicos Anastasiades’ stance on the Cyprus problem have also turned to Akel. Polls have showed Disy losing ground in the run up to May 26, without even factoring in Turkish Cypriot voters.