What society demanded was the search for the greatest possible consensus through creative engagement so that policies were approved and the country moved forward, said Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides. The election result showed that people were not seeking toxicity and negativity, but cooperation and consensus, he explained. It was impossible to argue with this.
The parties that suffered the biggest losses in Sunday’s parliamentary elections were Akel and Diko, which traded in dogmatic negativity during the entire election campaign. This was a continuation of their stance in parliament where they rejected all government reform proposals, regardless of their merits and usefulness, and rejected the state budget for 2021 for no reason other than to create problems for the government.
Most people know that local government and judicial reform were desperately needed and that Akel and Diko had no rational justification for voting against them. As for Diko’s rejection of the state budget on the childish grounds that the government had not handed citizenship files to the auditor-general, what could anyone say? The Akel-Diko premise that anything proposed by the government was by definition bad and had to be rejected was seen for the joke it was by voters.
It is an encouraging sign that fewer people now buy this dogmatic negativity, the simplistic politics of black and white that Akel and Diko desperately cling to, unable to understand that the country has moved on. Action is valued more than vacuous grandstanding, a political currency that is completely devalued. The voters want action to assist the recovery, which was what the government and Disy were offering. They did not want to hear a discourse that had no practical value other than mindless point-scoring.
The country would benefit if the defeat of dogmatic negativity leads to more constructive political practices, with parties trying to improve government rather than block reforms for the sake of it. We are not suggesting that the parties should agree on everything and unanimously approve every bill put before them. They should question, criticise and reject if they believe it is necessary, but they should justify this with political arguments, not on the simplistic premise that every proposal submitted by the government is bad.
Sunday’s elections made it quite clear that this is not what the overwhelming majority of voters want. They want political parties that contribute to things getting done, rather than parties that have made it their mission to prevent things happening.