In complaining about the latest defections from Diko, party leader Nicholas Papadopoulos was unintentionally advertising his poor leadership qualities, exemplified by his refusal to take any responsibility for what has happened to his party. Conveniently, Papadopoulos blamed the defection of five officials, three of whom are deputies, on the former Diko leader Marios Garoyian, who was expelled from the party in 2018 and has set up a new party, Dipa, which took a 3.8 per cent share of the vote in last year’s European Parliament elections.
Papadopoulos told Politis Radio that Dipa was trying to break up Diko and that President Anastasiades and Disy were behind Dipa’s efforts. In short, the party and Papadopoulos’ leadership are the target of a presidential palace/Disy conspiracy that is being executed by Garoyian! Even if there was the slightest hint of truth in these nonsensical allegations, the accused would have done nothing illegal or unethical. As a political party, that will contest next year’s parliamentary elections, Dipa is entitled to try to attract support from other parties, including Diko. And if it can attract senior officials from other parties that would raise its profile and boost its election prospects, it is perfectly legitimate to do so, although the five Diko deserters have not said they will join the new party.
Has Papadopoulos not realised that politics is a cut-throat business, all about winning support and votes, by any means possible? Does he think Diko officials and supporters are his ownership, without the democratic right to change their political choices and switch allegiances? It is not even as if his party has any political ideology, like Akel does, that holds the membership together.
The funny thing is that since Papadopoulos ousted Garoyian to become leader, many have quit the party. Four Diko ministers in the first Anastasiades government were forced to resign in 2014 by Papadopoulos and gave up their membership. The vice president of the party left in 2017 and Garoyian and several members of the central committee were expelled from the party in 2018 before the latest bout of departures.
Any real leader would have accepted responsibility for this mess, either resigning or owning up to mistakes and explaining how he would fix them. Not Papadopoulos who blamed his political rivals and the presidential palace for the complete disarray his party is in, making out that he is a blameless victim of sinister, external forces. The truth is that Papadopoulos has not been a victim of Garoyian and the palace’s plotting, but of his own immaturity, arrogance and sense of entitlement.