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Parties in last-ditch duel for Sunday’s votes

comment christos election official prepares the bewildering list of candidates

The Cyprus problem, corruption and possible protest votes were the focus of political parties on Friday in their final messages before Sunday’s parliamentary elections.

With the election campaign period ending at midnight, most parties took the opportunity to send their voters one final message.

The big parties, staying true to the spirit of the past weeks, took swipes at each other.

Ruling Disy leader Averof Neophytou referred to the government’s achievements and asked people if they would rather continue on that path or go back to “dangerous experiments in the economy”, referring to main opposition Akel whose policies under Demetris Christofias led the economy into the 2013 financial crisis.

Neophytou also spoke against the so-called ‘protest vote’ and urged people not to vote for the smaller parties, because, he said, “every vote for the small parties is an indirect boost to Akel and Diko.”

People, he said, “have to choose between irresponsible populism and seriousness.”

Akel’s message was focused on the Cyprus problem, the economy and corruption during the Disy-Anastasiades administration.

The leftist party’s leader, Andros Kyprianou, called on voters to give strength to Akel, and to “the steady, serious and consistent force that defends the people.”

He said it has been proven that Disy and President Nicos Anastasiades did not have the Cyprus problem as their priority, while during their administration “the rich got richer and the poor poorer.”

“While the majority of society is struggling to survive, corruption and entanglements are flourishing in the days of Mr Anastasiades,” Kyprianou said.

Diko’s Nicolas Papadopoulos said abstention and casting a vote of protest would not change anything.

“The clear change will come through support to the Democratic Party. Through the implementation of our proposals,” he said. By voting for Diko, he said, people would help change “everything that hurts our homeland and dignity.”

“We ask that you give us strength to thwart Turkey’s plans for a two-state confederation. To support society and the economy. To fight corruption and bring about cleansing,” Papadopoulos said.

In perhaps the longest statement among parties, socialist Edek leader Marinos Sizopoulos, among other things, said the Cyprus problem was the party’s top priority and would strive for a solution for a unitary state and not a bizonal bicommunal federation, which he said was “the worst form of legitimised partition of our homeland.”

The withdrawal of the “illegal British bases” and the reinforcement of the Republic’s defences were also among Edek’s goals, he said.

He also called for clamping down on corruption, for transparency as regards political persons’ income tax declarations, gradual raise of the minimum pension to €1,000 and introduction of a minimum national wage.

“Our focus is on supporting mainly vulnerable groups of the population,” Sizopoulos said.

The Citizens’ Alliance, who are jointly running with Edek, called on people to vote for their combination “to turn to new, white pages of transparency.”

The candidates of the Citizens’ Alliance and the entire Edek-Social Alliance combination, it said, were people who claim the opportunity to “give and not to receive”. “They stood and will continue to do so against the establishment and the system and never became part of it.”

Greens’ leader, Charalambos Theopemptou, called on people to “turn their frustration and anger over corruption scandals into a useful and beneficial vote.” A vote to the Greens, he said, “is a vote for transparency, democracy, rule of law, social justice, green development, viable solution of the Cyprus problem, clean environment, animal protection, better public health and public education and for people-centered policies and modern society.”

Marios Garoyian, head of Depa, said it will depend on people’s choices “whether we take a decisive and qualitative step towards the future or whether we return to the impasses of the past.”

“We must make the May 30 parliamentary elections a milestone to a new era, a new beginning, a new perspective,” he said, calling for a rebirth of the political centre.

The Solidarity Movement expressed the conviction they would be winners on Sunday “because the people know that the only democratic, genuine, patriotic, anti-occupation voice at the House of Representatives should not be silenced.” The party said the wronged, the refugees, the poor, and the proud patriots, “will give us Victory.”

Far-right Elam leader, Christos Christou, said they were “the only clean party” that was not involved in scandal and corruption, and has nothing to fear. He said his party has a comprehensive strategic plan for the economy and the country’s sustainable development for the next five years.

The Animal Party argued that people’s backing for its candidates, would help strengthen the hope for a better tomorrow, give hope to future generations and guarantee the future and the continuation of life on the planet.

The party called on people “to think about yesterday, to act for today and to vigorously carry on for the future and the protection of all species and all creatures on Earth because they deserve it.”

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