A ‘government of broad acceptance’ is the latest idea President Anastasiades has decided to embrace, presumably because it sounds good. He said the aim was not to distribute the spoils of power and titles but to proceed with cooperation, through convergences, so that under the plan of recovery and resilience, the target relating to the young and the ‘Cyprus of tomorrow’ could be achieved.
Perhaps this was an off-the-cuff comment in response to questions about a cabinet reshuffle, which he said would take place after the election of House president, because his subsequent elaboration did not stand up to rational scrutiny. The purpose of the government of broad acceptance was not to have “members from any parties” participating in the government but the “creation of a more broadly accepted government”, he said.
As he does not want people from other parties in this broad acceptance government, what type of cooperation is he envisaging for the recovery and resilience plan? Logically, he would want the cooperation to take place in the legislature where the government cannot rely only on Disy to get measures through. But if he is not going to distribute some posts among the smaller parties, how will he secure their support?
The real question is what is a government of broad acceptance? Does the current composition of the cabinet constitute a government of narrow acceptance that needs to be broadened? And how will this be achieved without any parties participating? Why should anyone assume that a cabinet with fewer party-affiliated ministers necessarily have a claim to broader acceptance? And acceptance by whom, Limassolians, Paphites, developers, auditors, hoteliers, intellectuals, or hunters?
After eight years in office Anastasiades should have had enough experience to know that ministers should be chosen for their abilities and track record. His objective should be to have a cabinet of capable ministers, who get things done, and forget the nebulous concept of broad acceptance. Competent and honest ministers would enjoy broad acceptance, if such a thing exists, regardless of their political background or affiliation.
Good ministers would be able to argue the government’s case and persuade the small parties to back reform proposals in the legislature. Akel and Diko do not have the number of seats needed to block any bill, even if they brought the Greens on board. In short, Anastasiades should put aside the idea of broad acceptance and just focus on appointing capable people that can get the job done.