Cyprus Mail

Race for House Speaker picks up pace

File photo: CNA

While the picture surrounding the election of a new House president remains murky, some light could emerge later on Tuesday when both Akel and Diko have scheduled meetings of their decision-making organs to consider their options.

Diko has already indicated it will contest the election with its president Nicolas Papadopoulos and is exploring possible alliances with other opposition parties.

Akel, though reportedly ready to consider cooperating with Diko, is understood to want to field Andros Kyprianou, who will be stepping down from general secretary at the party conference in a few weeks.

Edek and new party Dipa have adopted a wait and see approach, while Disy has said it will stick to its candidate MP Annita Demetriou to the end. Elam and the Greens are both putting their presidents Christos Christou and Charalambos Theopemptou forward, but both are widely expected to withdraw their candidacies in the second round, barring unexpected support from elsewhere.

Under the rules, a candidate must secure 27 votes to be elected in the first round. With seven parties in the House and the biggest, Disy, commanding only 17 seats, all parties will need to forge alliances with other parties.  Failing this, the vote will move to a second round where the winning candidate will need the support of at least 22 MPs and then to a third, where the candidate with the most votes wins.

Akel’s central committee meets at 3.00 pm and will discuss the election result, which saw he left wing party lose 3 percentage points and one MP, as well the presidency of the House. A decision is expected around 7.00 pm, the Cyprus News Agency said, citing informed sources. The party is also scheduling meeting with other parties in the opposition tomorrow.

Diko’s executive committee meets at 4.00 pm but may not take a final decision. On Monday, Papadopoulos said one scenario was that his name would be put forward but clarified that the issue was still under discussion.

Edek is understood to be waiting for a clearer picture, with its politbureau due to meet on Wednesday afternoon after officials hold consultations with Dikoa and Akel. Its president Marinos Sizopoulos said the party will decide once the candidacies have clarified and on the basis of criteria decided by the party’s politbureau at its last meeting, including experience, honesty and the ability to manage the House so as to upgrade it as an institution.

Edek has not ruled out putting Sizopoulos’ name forward. And it has clarified that the only candidacy it has ruled out is that of Elam. A final decision may be taken as late as Thursday.

Dipa is also holding consultations with other parties and may also leave its decision to the last minute. The party, which splintered off from Diko, could put forward the name of its president Marios Garoyan, who has served as House president in the past. But it has also said that the election of a House president is not an end in itself, nor part of a race among parties in view of the 2023 presidential elections.

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